I'm so excited to introduce you to today's guest because she is here to answer your tough time management questions.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is a time coach and professional speaker who empowers individuals who are overwhelmed and frustrated because they want to achieve a life of peace and productivity but are struggling to make it happen.
Through her exclusive Schedule Makeover process, she helps individuals set priorities, set expectations, and set routines so that they move forward, feel peaceful, and create lives of love, meaning, and purpose.
Here's what Elizabeth had to say:
Thank you for your great questions!
As a time coach, I first get a holistic understanding of my clients’ specific situation before offering a custom solution. But for this column, I’ve done my best to provide helpful advice based on the provided information.
How do you balance home life with working from home tasks, when everyone else is just as wrapped up with their own projects as you are? – Carole Bennett
To start, you need a very clear sense of what time you have available to work from home. During the Schedule Makeover process, I have clients clarify what activities and commitments they already have and then use that information to determine how many hours they have left to work on their business.
(Often, they realize they’re already in time debt—i.e., committed to spending more time than they have each week.)
Then once you have a clear sense of how much time you have to work on your business, you need to differentiate between “home life” and “working from home” tasks. To help clarify, I would write out what activities you think fall under each one.
Once you know how much time you have to work on your business and what qualifies as a business activity, you can make goals. Ideally, you should block out specific days and times when you can focus on accomplishing home life tasks and on work from home tasks. During the planned times, choose to only focus on the activities under the designated category unless something comes up that absolutely can’t wait.
How do you deal with adult household members (AKA DH) who likes the idea that you’re working from home and getting a paycheck, but constantly wants you to put down what you’re doing to pay attention to them, and do your business projects later? Even explaining that I have work time scheduled into my day and that I’ll be happy to spend time with him when my work time is over hasn’t helped. – Lorraine
It sounds like you’ve tried my initial suggestion—which would be to:
1. Clearly set “office hours” when you are working and not working.
2. Communicate those to others in the home.
3. Stick to them—i.e., declining invitations to do personal activities during work hours but also stopping working at the designated time.
If this strategy fails, my next suggestion is to adapt to your environment. If the main distraction is an adult household member, as opposed to a child that requires you to be at home, I recommend finding another place to work. Possibilities include: the local library, a coffee shop, or a shared workspace where you can rent a cubicle. That way your physical boundaries create clear psychological boundaries on when you are and are not available.
Related Content: 7 Tips for Working at Home with Your Significant Other
I am growing my business and finding it tough to manage family time and work time as well. What is the best way to grow a small business? – Kelly
Your question could be answered in a million and one ways! But as an enthusiastic pragmatist who has supported myself as a full-time entrepreneur for over four and a half years and lives a balanced life, my simplest answer is: find paying customers. If you have very limited time to work on your business, almost all of your efforts should be directed at activities that lead to sales. If your revenue exceeds your expenses, you have a profitable business. If not, you don’t.
Related Content: How to Make Flexible Hours Work for You
As a stay-at-home mom for the past nine years, it is hard to transition into being a work-at-home mom. Many of my friends, fellow school moms, and family don’t understand that I work 14 hour days. Always working as the stay-at-home mom and then every other spare minute working to grow my business. Do you have a suggestion of how to transition into a working mom while working from home? – Sheena
It is tough to adjust from being a “stay-at-home mom” to a “work-at-home mom” because your focus, priorities, and responsibilities have changed, but there aren’t as many outward cues to remind people to adjust their expectations.
Here’s what I suggest:
1. Understand that it will take time for people to make the mental adjustment.
We naturally develop subconscious ways of relating to people so others’ misunderstanding may be frustrating but is most likely not intentional or malicious.
2. Consider whether you’ve adjusted your expectations for yourself.
Have you determined how many hours you will be working on your business? If so, how are you reducing your expectations of what you will do as a stay-at-home mom in order to gain those hours? (i.e., less volunteering, delegating cooking and cleaning, carpooling or reducing other driving, fewer social activities, etc.)
3. Politely adjust others’ expectations.
When you’re asked to do something you used to have time to do, say something like, “I really appreciate the offer, but I’m at my capacity right now.” Or if you’re having a harder time fitting in people connection time, try to “layer” activities like going on a walk, planning a party, volunteering, or even grocery shopping with friends or family. This way you can get stuff done and invest in your most important relationships.
4. Give yourself time to rest.
If you’re literally spending every minute you’re not doing mom activities doing business activities; you’re going to burn out, feel like a victim, and be resentful of anyone asking for your time. Try to do at least one thing a day that re-energizes you, even if it’s as simple as turning off your cell phone and listening to your favorite music for 15 minutes on the way to an appointment.
Life is to be lived now. Don’t let it pass you by.
Related Content: How to Transition from Stay-at-Home Mom to Work-at-Home Mom
Finally, my #1 Schedule Makeover Tip
Do more of less. A sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and achievement comes from making and keeping our commitments to ourselves and others. Decide what you really want to do, make a realistic goal, and then complete it. There’s no better way to create a great life and build a great business.
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