Mindset Buster: I Have to be Available for My Clients 24/7

In my last post, I shared a story of a client of mine who felt pressure to check her e-mail all the time and stay tethered to her smart phone in order to be responsive to her clients. It was causing an incredible amount of stress in her life, and when I told her that a 24-hour or 48-hour response time was perfectly acceptable, she responded like a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

It was definitely a mindset buster to be able to accept that. I wanted to take that idea and expand on it. Another related mindset buster is the idea that you have to be available to your clients 24/7 in order to be successful. Simply put, that idea is just not sustainable. I want you to be successful in the long term. If you try to be available all the time, every day, you will burn out.

It’s really an issue of boundaries. All of us, deep down in our hearts, really want to bend over backward for our customers. We want to give them great customer service and believe that if we do, our business will grow. Why? Well, when someone does that for me, I feel good. I want to do something to help that business owner. I might want to give them a referral or write a positive online review for them. We’re all sort of hard-wired that way.

I wanted to share with you one of the things I do to manage my time. Every time I take on a new client, I go through the basics on how we’ll work through our weekly coaching calls and what they need to prepare for our meetings.

I also tell them that they are welcomed to reach out in between our sessions in one of three ways. They can e-mail me, text me or Facebook message me, and they can do any of those things at any time. If they have a question at 2 a.m., they can send it. If they have an idea they want to run by me at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, they can text me.

I explain that I will respond to them by the next business day, and I may respond to them sooner. I tell them that it’s my job to hold my boundaries as to when I will look at those communications from my clients. It’s my job to protect my family time and my free time.

The reason I started this process with new clients was that I realized that many of my current customers were sort of afraid to email or text in between coaching sessions because they didn’t want to overstep the relationship. In some cases, they could have used a little extra support or a sounding board but didn’t contact me because they didn’t want to encroach on my family time.

It finally occurred to me that I had not established my own boundaries and that, as a result, my clients were trying to protect me. That was my mistake as a business owner, as a human, to not set boundaries.

I would challenge you to think about that. Have you set good boundaries? Would you be angry if a client called you at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning? Have you communicated your boundaries clearly to your clients so they know what to expect?

1. Establish your boundaries. For example, I have office hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and reduced hours in the summer. The do-not-disturb function on my phone blocks all but family emergency calls between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. I do not allow Facebook notifications to come through to my phone or desktop; I log into Facebook when I have time to respond to those messages.

2. Communicate your boundaries to your clients. I tell my clients the channels in which they can reach me and that I promise to respond the next business day. I explain that I might respond earlier if it works out in my schedule, but I will definitely respond by my next office hours.

When you do these two things, setting boundaries and communicating them, your stress levels will immediately go down. You won’t have to worry all the time whether a client has a question, if you have a new order waiting, or whether there’s an issue to respond to. Your clients know you will respond by the next business day, and if you respond sooner, that’s just icing on the cake.

Remember that in many cases, you are putting pressure on yourself to respond 24/7. Don’t do it. Play for the long run. Give yourself a break so you can do a good job and be happy. In the end, happy business owners are successful business owners.

Need help setting boundaries? Not sure how to communicate this with your clients? Get in touch, I’d love to help!

Continue Reading

Mindset Buster: You Don’t Have to Work All the Time to Make Money

Mindset Buster: You Don't Have to Work All the Time to Make Money

Recently, I took the day off to go to local conference. It was a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to collaborate with teachers, incubators, a few investors and other entrepreneurs. It was fascinating to listen to their mindsets, and for the purposes of this article, it was interesting to see who wasn’t there. Those of us who hold a mindset of having to work all the time don’t attend conferences like that. In fact, we don’t take days off for any reason because we believe we must be working all the time.

Rooted in the Past

Many of us believe that in order to be truly dedicated to our business, especially one that we have started ourselves, that we must sacrifice everything in order to make it successful. We have to give up family, friends, free time and everything else in order to meet our customer’s needs and do all those things that we need to do to succeed.

On the outside, this seems like a noble idea. We hear it all the time in the business world. We hear that the customer is always right. We hear that customer satisfaction is paramount. It’s a mantra that every successful business seems to repeat.

Combine that external message with all those lessons we might have learned as a child or as an employee in the corporate world. We were probably rewarded as children by our parents and teachers for working hard. One major component of our performance reviews in a corporation probably had to do with our work ethic.

We’ve probably even played that game where we try to look like we’re working hard or very busy to make a good impression on those people around us. If our parents, teachers, friends, coworkers, bosses or customers see us working all the time, they will believe that we’re hard workers, that we’re successful entrepreneurs, that we’re good people.

The funny thing is that many of us probably left the corporate world to start our own businesses to get away from that pressure to need to be working all the time. We probably understood that time spent didn’t necessarily mean productivity or success. We wanted to work smarter, not longer. And many of us probably went out on own in order to free up time for other priorities in our lives.

So what happened? How did we get back to what we were trying to escape? And how do we break out of the mindset of needing to be working all the time?

A Case Study

I was coaching a client a few weeks ago. As we were talking, she was telling me how completely overwhelmed she felt. In fact, she was in that place where she felt like she had so much work she couldn’t even write it all down.

When things get that bad, it’s easy to throw up our hands and just believe that that’s life. The reality, however, is that it is only a symptom. It’s not the reality itself. It’s a symptom of certain patterns of behavior. It’s a symptom of time management issues. It’s a symptom of prioritization challenges. It’s a symptom of this mindset of needing to work all the time.

With this particular client, I asked her to give me a brain dump of everything she does for a whole week. When I looked at her list, I had no doubt that she was overwhelmed. She was trying to do an incredible amount of things, but the bottom line was that it was her mindset that was the problem.

One Major Mindset Change

Although we came up with several ideas on how to change the mindset for this particular client, I want to share with you particularly helpful idea in this article. We need to change our idea of what is an appropriate response time.

We live in a world of instant gratification. We can eat whatever out-of-season food we want. We can watch whatever program we want. We can read whatever we want. And we can do all of those things whenever we want to do them. We live in a world of instant text messages, and we expect an immediate answer. On the flip side, we often feel pressure to answer text messages and e-mails immediately.

This particular client was having every e-mail, whether it was a sales pitch, a greeting from a friend or a request from a client, sent to her phone. She spent all day being distracted by every single e-mail that came in, which made it very hard to focus on her more important work. I encouraged her to set aside time in the morning and in the evening, scan her e-mails at those two times only, and respond accordingly. I reassured her that a 24-hour to 48-hour response time was reasonable.

If you are in a similar mindset, that one change alone will reduce your stress significantly. Give yourself permission to compartmentalize your e-mail to a set time. And watch your time become more available and more productive. This goes beyond e-mail as well—phone calls, texts, Facebook alerts all can WAIT. Focus on the task at hand and let some of those things sit, you’ll feel better and get so much more done.

Need help getting to the bottom of your “overwhelm”? I can help! Contact me today for a free call to see if coaching with me is the right fit for your needs.

Continue Reading

Top Three Tips for a Successful Summer as a Mompreneur

sunny wall with bicycle

It’s that time of year. The school year is coming to a close or already has, and you may be wondering how you will survive the summer. As a mompreneur, there are mixed feelings when it comes to summer. A part of you is looking forward to spending time with your kids and going on family vacations, but you also must maintain a business. It’s normal to want to power down and go into maintenance mode with your business and enjoy family time, and with a strategic approach, it can be done.

Why is summer so wild?

Getting through the summer without going crazy is the number one topic with my coaching clients around this time of year. There are many reasons why summer tends to be a little stressful. For one, we often tend to give up our routine during the summer. Lack of routine is a contributing factor to some of the stress and chaos in our lives.

Also, kids get bored, and what happens when kids get bored? They sometimes misbehave. Or, they may look to you for stimulation. When we don’t have a routine, everyone gets on a different clock. Your children may stay up later; you may stay up later. This is especially an issue during the summer.

Another reason why summer can be such a challenge is that there is a lack of clear expectations. This is a really critical element to address during the summer. Kids are used to a routine during the school year. Their days are structured and they are constantly being told what to do, where to go, and when. During the school year, they have a consistent schedule. When kids no longer have this routine and structure during the summer, we expect them to figure it out on their own. If there is no routine, your summer will be more stressful.

Three summer success tips

If you want to have a successful and happy summer you must get everyone on board by taking a strategic approach to scheduling, communicating, and setting clear expectations. These three tips will help you have a successful summer for your family and business.

1. Create a Summer Calendar
It’s important to have a visual. Get a poster board for each summer month. Create calendars, and fill them in with events that you know are going to take place. Be sure to have your kids participate. Little kids that cannot read or write yet can draw pictures or use stickers. Note craft projects, and your family summer bucket list. Place the calendars in a prominent place; they must be very visible to the entire family.

2. Have Family Meetings
Family meetings provide much-needed routine and help communicate clear expectations. These meetings do not need to be formal but should take place near the calendar. Meetings can take place at breakfast time while everyone is gathered. These meetings should be weekly, and daily. At the start of the week, go over what is planned for the week, and fill in anything that is missing. Everyone should be clear on the overall plan for the week. Start each day with a meeting. Talk about what is going to happen for the day. For example, discuss who needs to be picked up from where and when. Communicate upfront before the day or week begins.

3. Get Input and Collaboration
As noted when creating your summer calendar, always get input from the entire family when making summer plans. Don’t create a calendar alone and expect everyone to be happy about it. If you engage everyone then they become collaborators who share your expectations. Shared expectations help reduce stress and chaos.

You can have a successful summer from a family and business perspective with careful planning, communicating, and setting clear expectations. Enjoy your summer!

Continue Reading

Why Clarity is Your Key to Success

Taking time off usually gives me clarity, as if often does for my clients. Clarity can give a big breakthrough in your thinking and planning. I teach many different aspects of success but gaining clarity in your business and life priorities can be life changing.

A Real Life Case Clarity Study

Recently, I had a coaching call with one of my clients whom I hadn’t spoken to in two weeks because of the holidays. It turned out to be a lesson in how to gain clarity.

When we stick to our regular routine of making steady progress and evaluating our steps, we don’t often take the time to step back and look at the entire picture. However, when the routine gets interrupted, say by a holiday break, often something shifts in our thinking and that’s exactly what I noticed with this client.

Shortly after we began our conversation, I noticed a difference with her. As a coach, I’m trained to notice these things and I could tell that her energy was different.

I said to her, “You know, we’ve talked about goal setting and I notice that you’ve lost a bit of motivation.”

My client agreed, admitting that she didn’t feel as motivated as she did before. She admitted that she was struggling with that because she was ready to grow her business and do whatever it takes to get to the next level. However even as she spoke those words, I could tell she really didn’t believe them. She was trying to motivate herself but she wasn’t winning the battle.

I asked her: “What is sapping your motivation? You’ve been doing so well with your goals that have been set. Your client base is good. You’ve been meeting some financial goals.” Any outside observer would say that she is running a successful business but she just wasn’t feeling it.

At first glance, she thought it might be her inner drive for perfection, which was leaving her feeling that she wasn’t doing enough. While I agreed that this characteristic in her could possibly be part of the reason she was feeling a bit derailed, I didn’t think this was the entire reason for her lack of motivation to advance to the next level in her business.

After further discussion, another thought occurred to her. She recalled that she has some very big long-term goals that involved big life changes. During our talk, she recalled how very committed she was to reaching these major goals in the next couple of years.

I helped her drill down in her thinking and feelings by asking: “If you continue on this path of achieving more clients and growing your business, what will that mean to your long-term personal goals?”

As we peeled back the layers, we realized that the goals she had been setting and meeting were going to result in her business growing larger. Although this would bring her more income, it would also require more infrastructure – more staff, a larger office, and increased overhead costs.

When she looked at this squarely, she decided that it would be a huge amount of work, which was not worth the effort to her at this time. What she really wanted was to use her current business success to enable her to make the larger life changes that she wants down the road. Pouring a huge amount of time, money and effort into taking her business to the next level now was really not going to get her closer to the long-term personal goals she has set originally.

The crux of the problem was that the immediate goals she was setting for herself were not aligned with her longer-term goals, which she hoped to achieve in the next couple of years. Although her immediate goals seemed fine on the surface and she was capable of growing her business using them, they were starting to bump up against priorities for her personal life. She realized that her personal goals were going to take a lot of focus and energy, which she didn’t want to divert toward growing her business at this time.

This realization and understanding gave her the clarity she needed to make the right business decisions and renew the sense of purpose and direction that is often lost when we get off track.

She learned that she had not been checking in with her longer-term goals when she was making shorter-term plans. It’s not that she had forgotten her personal long-term goals; they were always with her. But she had not compared her smaller incremental plans, leading to more business success, with the long-term personal goals to see if they lined up well.

To remedy her situation, we brought the personal goals into focus and made short-term business goals that lined up nicely with them.

By the end of the call, she was happy, relieved and fired up! As you can imagine, she felt that a great weight was finally lifted. She knew exactly what to do each day to work out the life she wanted for herself. That’s what clarity does for a person.

The Moral of the Story

What this client was going through is not unusual. I have often seen that over time short-term goals seem to be in sharp focus while long-term goals seem to get out of focus.

When my client realized that this had happened to her, she understood why she could not muster the motivation to expand her business at this time. This gold nugget of clarity saved her from compromising some of her personal life goals. The relief in her voice was refreshing and her energy was renewed. She now knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that her time, money and effort needed to be focused on her personal life’s priorities.

Goals shift and evolve over time—or they just get buried under the pile of daily work. It’s key that we schedule the time to review our goals, both short-term and long, to decide if they are complimentary or contrary to each other. This, of course, holds true for comparing personal goals and business goals as well.

Need help gaining some clarity? I can help! Contact me today to schedule a discovery session to find out if coaching is right for you. Let’s align those long- and short-term goals to get you what you really want out of life.

 

Continue Reading

How to Maximize Your Work Time to be the Most Productive

Have you ever heard the phrase “There must be something in the water”? It is something that is said often when there are a lot of people getting pregnant or having new babies. Well, right now it seems as if that water must be all around me. A lot of my clients are getting ready to have their second or third child and they are wondering how they are going to be more productive with less time. New babies tend to take us into a Bermuda Triangle that makes all of our established schedules and routines mysteriously disappear!

Being Productive vs. Being Busy

It is common that some of my client have confused the idea of being busy with the idea that they are productive. It is possible that you can run at full speed all day and fall into bed exhausted, only to look at your to-do list to realize you didn’t really accomplish much of anything. When you look around and see that being busy is such a norm in our society, you tend to take that as being an acceptable or desirable behavior. Back in my corporate days, I used to work at IBM and productivity strategy was all they ever wanted to discuss. They always wanted to find more ways that we could do more for them in less time.

Finding Fulfillment

When really boiled down, having a goal of being productive is really a goal of feeling fulfilled. It really feels good to check things off on a list that gets you even a little bit closer to goals that you have already established. I used to be one of those people that would write big, long, legal pad to-do lists. However I’ve found that a lot of times, it winds up just being a brain dump that doesn’t usually lend to productivity for me.

Focusing on Your Priorities

If you are going to do a to-do list, let’s start taking a look and noting which tasks on your list are your priorities. Make it a point to write down your top 3 priorities for the day or week. These top 3 should be tasks that will get you closer to accomplishing some goals that you already have in progress. Then, take these tasks and make a point to put them down officially on your calendar. It can also often help to estimate the time it will take you to complete each task, especially if it is a common recurring task.

If to-do lists or brain dumps aren’t really for you, then you should consider utilizing hit lists. Hit lists are a tool you can use to break tasks down by how much time they take you to complete. You will have a 5 minute list, 10 minute list, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc. Then, whenever you find yourself with unexpected time, you have those to refer to and can be productive. Read more about hit lists in my blog Using Hit Lists to Get Stuff Done and as usual if you could use some advice or guidance you are always welcome to contact me.

Continue Reading

Top Three Tips for Summer Success as a Mompreneur

summer success

When it is cold and windy outside, we all find ourselves daydreaming of the warmth and freedom of the summertime, don’t we? Unfortunately, then the summer actually comes around and some of us have mixed feelings about its arrival. Suddenly as wonderful as the warm weather is, we also realize that this means the school year is over and our schedules majorly shift. It’s also not uncommon to go into a programmed “relaxation mode” in the summer. That is wonderful, but with kids home all the time and no routine, how do we do that?!

The summer is a great time to enjoy quality time with family vacations, having the kids home and (sometimes) just some peace and quiet to yourself. A lot of my clients choose to “power down” over the summer time just slow down and not be working as much or as hard as through the rest of the year. This can easily be confused as a lack of motivation and then they start feeling feeling like they’re not accomplishing enough. It is totally normal to struggle with this paradigm shift. So, how can we be strategic with juggling the summertime and being a mompreneur?

This is often my number 1 request for advice from those I am coaching – how to make it through the summer. Summertime is both a blessing and curse – because we get to enjoy our freedom, but we also tend to give up our routine. The lack of structure and routine (especially for bored kids) adds to the stress and chaos of everyday life. When kids get bored they will usually start misbehaving or bugging you because they are in need of stimulation. When the routine changes (or stops altogether) everybody gets on a different body clock or rhythm and it’s easy to fall out of sync. Your little kids are up and ready to play at 5 or 6am while yourself and your teenagers find yourself staying up later than usual.

Trouble easily starts from a lack of clear expectations. Kids are used to a routine during the school year. They are told everyday at school what they will be doing and what to expect during the course of each day. How can you combat all the chaos?

So, I have three tips for you to survive the summer:

  1. Developing a family calendar
  2. Having a family meet daily
  3. Encouraging input and collaboration

Developing a calendar seems like a no-brainer but is also something that a lot of us fail to execute. Moms and dads are always running around knowing who needs to be where, with what, at what time but often the kids are not privy to this information ahead of time. Maybe Mom and Dad have the cell phone calendars linked, but where does this leave the little ones? Kids ages 3 and up can start learning about what to expect and what is coming up on their family calendar. Helping them have clear expectations will help your home run so much smoothly. I love having a big visual calendar and filling in all the events that we know are going to take place. It is important to have your kids contribute to the calendar as well. Let the little ones who are too young to read draw or use stickers to know what is coming. Get your calendar out of your head and get it into a public place for all to see and understand.

Having a family meeting can help everyone be on the same page. No, it doesn’t have to be rigid and formal. Just chat about each week and each day in the morning while Mom is pouring her coffee and the kids are eating their cereal. Look at the calendar and talk about what’s coming up, add anything new things and give a brief overview. Once again, helping to set those expectations. I’m telling you, the best summers we have ever had are when we start each day with a family meeting.

Don’t just get your family members to participate, but get their input and encourage them to really collaborate together on your calendar. Don’t try to simply set a schedule and expect everyone to follow it AND be happy about it. Get your kids and family members to contribute and give back their opinions and feelings about how they would like things to go and help build those expectations. You will be so very happy you did (and they will probably cooperate better, too)!

If you put these into place, you can enjoy a smoother, more relaxing summer. Good luck!

Continue Reading

Be More Productive with Hit Lists

This summer has been a busy one for me. I am coaching more people than ever this summer, spending ample time enjoying my kids, and yet I don’t feel stressed. Summertime is lovely, but also brings with it major schedule changes and priority adjustments. This can easily make us feel like we never get quite as much done as we would like or as we feel like we should.

I won’t lie, it was a lot harder to get things done when my kids were younger. I still struggle at times to feel like I am really using my time productively. But I’m going to share with you one of my favorite tips to help you be productive—specifically when you weren’t expecting to have any time.

It’s time to make yourself some hit lists.

What are hit lists?

A hit list is a list of things that you do on a routine basis. Sometimes, it’s the kind of stuff that we forget to do when we have a more chaotic schedule than usual (like summertime). If you will implement and use boundaries, hit lists, structures, expectations, and routines, you can get more stuff done. This will let you enjoy getting things done without feeling fragile and stressed. The purpose of a hit list is to give you a visual list of of things you can do when you have spare time that you didn’t expect to have. The neighbor has called and invited your kids over to swim? Great! Now you have 2 free hours, but what the heck do you do?

What goes on hit lists?

When you are compiling your hit lists, I find it most beneficial to break it into categories as well as time frames. Create a hit list for work and another one for your household responsibilities. Consider breaking your work hit list down into categories such as administration, marketing, managing warm leads or customer loyalty, and breaking your household list into individual rooms or outdoor work. You can list things such as going through and purging old clothes that no longer fit, cleaning windows or pulling weeds.

After you have some categories down – consider breaking it down even further into chunks of time. That way when you find yourself with a spare 15 minutes you can go to a hit lists and say “What can I do that will be productive in just 15 minutes? Oh! I could do this 15 minute task under marketing, like respond to all notifications on social media! That won’t take long at all!” What about something in the sales category? You could reach out to a warm lead that you haven’t spoken to in awhile. These hit lists will help you when you have unexpected extra time and you will know that you are using your time productively.

If you are visual person—print out your hit lists with vivid colors and post them somewhere you will see them regularly. Or consider using your phone. I use a notetaking app on my iPhone for my hit lists because my phone is always with me and I never know when I will want to refer to them!

So take some time in the next day or two to put together a couple of basic hit lists. Then when you find a spare minute (waiting for kids at swim lessons, a post-swim surprise nap), you’ll have a list to go to and not waste time trying to figure out what to do. Happy productivity!

Continue Reading

How to Avoid Burning Out as a Mompreneur

Today is a topic that we as mompreneurs don’t often prioritize like we know that we should: self-care.

This post is dedicated to those of us out there who people always ask “How do you get it all done?” Those of us who set goals for our families and businesses then consistently surpass them. We have it all together. We are overachieving and exceeding expectations in every area of our lives. It is also dedicated to those of us who want to be that mom, but just aren’t quite there yet. Of course, I’m being a little tongue in cheek here.

I am one of those mompreneurs who is often asked how I do it all. I have a lot to manage, admittedly, but I also prioritize myself and my self-care routine to make sure I am able to keep up with my commitments. When you are seen as successful in juggling all these things, you feel accomplished. But what falls by the wayside and causes the breakdowns is lack of self-care.

We have so much to balance and keep track of that we are too busy taking care of everyone and everything else that sometimes we forget about ourselves. All that energy that you are spending taking care of others has to come from somewhere. And, let me tell you, it comes out of your personal bank of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. It is draining you—even if you sometimes don’t feel it.

When you start to feel the effects of your balancing act and are getting exhausted, it’s time to check in with yourself. Examine your self-care routine, because the only way to achieve or do more is by making sure that self-care doesn’t get compromised. I hear it already, you’re saying “I don’t have the time.” I get it. I really, really do. I get how much is on your plate due to your commitments and that it feels like there is no room left for self-care. But, I’m going to respectfully push back against you on this. I have the utmost respect for your commitments, but you are on the path to burnout if you are always last on your list of things to accomplish.

13043330_10209171527986290_2279547127658563526_n
Running with friends is my favorite self-care.

Establishing a self-care routine doesn’t mean that you have to find a way to block out an entire day for yourself once a week. Self-care can be very different for different people. Some people need a 60 minute weekly back massage. Others just want to have a standing appointment once a month to get their hair done and a mani/pedi. And then, some others like me, want to prioritize our exercise habits like running. Take the time and make the effort to put yourself on your calendar like any other appointment. Give yourself the opportunity to handle your self-care. You will refill your tank and stop draining all of the energy out every day caring for your family, business, house, and everything else you manage. They drain you. The only person who can refill that tank is you.

It is your job to make sure that you take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be major, but even small things planned ahead in a routine will make a noticeable difference. Just getting yourself on a calendar as a priority can make you feel better—and do it consistently. Don’t let a breakdown or exhaustion happen before you prioritize taking care of yourself. Make it work for you. If you have a crazy load on certain days, then schedule that self-care on a day that you know you can really relax for a minute and care for you. Even just reading a book or taking a bath. Get something on your schedule to take care of you. I promise you will be better for it.

Continue Reading

How to Get Healthy Food on the Table

It can be hard when routines change (back to school, new schedules) to be able to fit everything in that you have had set on a pretty rigid schedule up until now. Simple evening activities like showering, homework for children or chores can be thrown for a loop even with a 1 hour change in your routine or schedule.

One of the tasks that can be the most daunting and time consuming for mom business owners can be simply making dinner for their families and themselves. Getting food made, on the table and the family fed can feel like an impossible mission on some days, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now if you have been following me for awhile, you know that not only is cooking a passion of mine, but it is also fundamentally in my business plan. What I mean by that is that it is part of my schedule everyday. I’m committed to making it happen as much and as successfully as possible. It is one of my defined goals is to have a home-cooked meal on the table for my family at least 5 nights a week by around 6:30.

I have been successful with this goal for the most part in the past, but it is getting much more difficult with my children getting older. They have their own schedules, commitments to work around instead of just the adults.

I have used these four basic principles to help me to remember how to prioritize meal times:

Make It a Commitment

Commit to yourself and your family to making your mealtimes a family connection time. Try having no technology at the table: no tvs, computers, phones. Try just talking, connection and sharing together. This can be a magical time, even if it is only 20 minutes. Also, be sure to put it on your schedule. Try to have a set goal time for dinner every night. Make sure that everyone knows when that is and to not schedule other (avoidable) things at that time. And, just because it is a commitment, does not mean you have to be rigid about it. Be flexible, sometimes it will be a picnic at soccer or at the park, it will be a box in the minivan, but it is still a home cooked meal that you are having with your family.

Make It Simple

Don’t overthink meal time. Don’t put so much pressure on needed a freshly-cooked, just-out-of-the-oven full meal every night. That’s unrealistic and very difficult to do. Instead, try and make extras when you do cook to be frozen already prepared. Having things pre-cooked, pre-chopped and packaged for future meals will help immensely when you are short on time. You can pull them out and thaw / warm them even when you need to run out the door and still have a home cooked meal on the go!

Make it fun

Make a conscious effort to involve your kids and spouse in the meal-time process. Encourage selecting your dishes for the week as a family and allow them to help you prep and cook meals whenever possible. Not only will this give you more family bonding time but it will also teach your children a valuable, important life skill for their future. Win-win!

Make it matter

Make mealtime an important part of your family time. Dinner time doesn’t have to be long-stemmed candles and linens. It simply means sitting down, enjoying your food and being together. It means truly connection and conversation without the constant distractions of our busy lives. It may only be about 20 minutes, but it can be a 20 minutes that really, truly matters. If you have to have dinner separately due to certain (unavoidable) commitments, then make an effort to possibly sit down once you are all home to have dessert together, or a family breakfast time the next day.

Being a mompreneur is about keeping your priorities in order—and dinner is one way I make sure I’m meeting all my goals. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to set more concrete measurements for your home life, even if dinner may not be one of yours. Even personal goals need to be specific and measurable, just like your business goals.

Continue Reading

Why Striving for Work/Life Balance is Stupid

Did my title get your attention? Great! Now, I will admit it was a little bit misleading because it may seem very contradictory with my mission when you first hear it. You all know that I am a business coach especially for mother entrepreneurs, so when you hear me say striving for work life balance is stupid you may be like “wait, what?” But just hear me out!

In this blog, we’re going to revisit my humble beginnings in business and in motherhood. I like to refer to this time in my life as my “perfect storm”. I started out becoming both a business owner/coach and a mother at the same time. I know, right? Hello, stress! I went from just a person one day to so very much more in such a short time. And you guessed it: I struggled. Just like you probably have as well.

I have very high standards for my business as well as my family life. I had a business coach of my very own at the time kept and she kept noticing my unhealthy relationship my work/life balance. She noticed that I wasn’t living it. She noticed I complained for being unable to accept new clients by spending too much time on my baby. Yet, caring for my baby and living up to my own standards as a mother had become all encompassing for me.

My coach did something for me at that time that I will never forget and that has continued to help me grow even to this day. She forced me to have a terrible coaching call one day that ended in tears, and I thank her for that immensely. See, she knew my unhealthy attempt at balancing my life, so she scheduled a coaching session with me while I took my baby to the public pool. I thought she was crazy, but I obliged after much urging. That call was an absolute mess that I was constantly pausing trying to focus on both baby at the pool and the session at the same time. I wound up, unsurprisingly, in puddle of tears

I had been so heavily compartmentalizing my life and she could see that. I was trying desperately to keep my work life and my parenting life entirely separate and if they ever collided I got very upset. I felt like I couldn’t handle anything fully. I learned that day and every day since that life isn’t about balance. It isn’t about giving your best to both your business and your parenting at the same time and balancing them together. It’s about integration.

Focus on your priorities. I have 4 of my own. They are my well being, my marriage, my family, and my business. Rather than trying to evenly split myself between those 4 things, I integrate them together. It’s impossible to have precise balance between all your priorities.

What I mean is this: recently I had a speaking engagement in Las Vegas that happened to fall on the weekend of my wedding anniversary. So, instead of feeling the need to choose between a work engagement and my marriage/husband, I integrated them together. My husband came out with me to Las Vegas for the entire weekend before my speaking engagement on Monday. We spent the weekend together and made a mini-vacation out of the experience. Not to mention, we hiked and explored outside in the beautiful area outside of Las Vegas. In just that weekend, I integrated together my husband/marriage, my business and my wellbeing. All at the same time. And I loved every minute of it! Similarly, when I go for runs from home, I will often invite my son to run with me. This integrates my wellbeing and my family.

Instead of striving for balance, strive to integrate your priorities together. I promise you will feel more relaxed, fulfilled and you will have more time to truly devote to each one, individually and together.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 9