You work hard. Your clients are happy. Your projects are on track. Your bank account is smiling. Business is booming! That's always a good thing, yet somehow when our business ventures excel, our ability to juggle life's responsibilities can often take a nose dive, and challenges may begin to present themselves in your relationships, private life, health and social exposure.
What do you do when everything is going great in one area of your life and the rest is falling down like dominoes? Here are some tips that you can put to work immediately, and go from the brink of chaos to being in control.
Add Yourself to Your Calendar
You are your own client! How bad would things get if your health declined? Or if you weren't eating or sleeping well for days on end? Maybe your busy days have you too tired to remember to take your medicines?
Pick a day and time and put it on your calendar. Never schedule anything during that time, or at least be willing to move it to a different day, if your schedule is flexible. By blocking the time out on your calendar, you can free time for yourself to de-stress, go to a spa, hit the gym or take a much needed nap. No one will know your meeting is with yourself, unless you tell them.
Redo Your Days
We pride ourselves on being “Wonder Women”, and we frequently push our supporters (spouses, children, family, friends, etc.) and our other life responsibilities to the side while we tend to business. Business time is business time, and the rest of the day is what you say it is. If the way your days are scheduled is becoming a burden, change your schedule. Fix it! Grab your administrative assistant (or sit with your calendar) and re-arrange your days to help balance the people and things on your plate. Then, follow your calendar! It's really that simple. Some things won't be able to be moved, and you may have a few conflicts to work out. In the end, you'll be glad you gave your days an overhaul. Remember that the people who love and need you, want your attention. They will appreciate your revamped schedule.
Practice Strategic Communication
The word “no” has been long regarded as a verbal confirmation of our limited ability to accomplish something. Flip the script! Change your vernacular.
Friend: “Can you hang out with us on Friday, Chris?”
Me: “No, but I can do something with you on Saturday night, or have lunch on Wednesday.”
Client: “I really need this done by Monday.”
Me: “Ok. Since Monday is your deadline, I can have [insert directive] done by then. The rest can be done by Tuesday.”
In the first conversation, I basically said “no can do”, and gave an example of a better expectation. In the second conversation, I offered a solution to the clients immediate need and included a secondary expectation that offered them closure. Every conversation won't be as smooth as these examples, but as you integrate strategic communication in your conversations to ensure home and work life balance, people will respect you for being honest about what you can do.
Follow Supreme Direction
There's a saying, “Man plans, God laughs.” Simply put – just because its going on, doesn't mean you need to be there. The world is not going to fall apart if you miss a meeting, or if you have somewhere else to be. Sometimes, that's a good thing. We all have that little voice that tells us when something isn't right. Some have a gut feeling when something isn't meant to be. For others, there are signs in a conversation that might provide some hints.
Here's a story that you may be able to relate to:
I remember, some years back, getting a call about a large project. I was very excited about the project and it would have been with one of the biggest clients of my career. The amount I stood to gain financially was well into the five-figure mark, and at the time I was a single mom needing every dime. Needless to say, the morning of the meeting I got a call from my son's school nurse, and I immediately knew that the opportunity would be off the table. They weren't going to wait. Reluctantly, I called them and told them I wasn't coming. A chance of a lifetime, completely blown to pieces. A year later, I was watching the news, and the same project I was so excited about was having a number of issues that would have seriously impacted my career. “Supreme Direction” (as I call it) showed up and gave me a choice that led to avoiding a bad situation.
The lesson I learned: “When we aren't meant to be in a certain place at a certain time, its absolutely okay to not be there. It could save your life, you reputation, your career or someone else.”
However your signs or symbols may resonate with you, “Supreme Direction” is often what saves us from unwanted situations. Use it to your advantage and don't second guess yourself. Everything happens for a reason.
You are officially strategically armed. With these tips you'll manage your life better physically, emotionally and spiritually. Choose a start date and get moving! The results of your efforts will present themselves quickly and by practicing these tips long term, they'll become habits. I wish you success on all levels, and if there's anything I can do to help, I'm on Twitter @webbusiness, on Facebook and over at www.chris-curtis.com.
For more insight on business planning, visit Project Eve’s Business Planning section.
Chris Curtis-Crawford is an Internet Business Strategist and Web Marketing Consultant with almost 20 years experience in working with internet projects for small business owners and entrepreneurs. A former business and technology radio personality, Chris has been featured in Black Enterprise, and quoted in articles at Forbes, MSN Money, and on other popular print and web media sources around the globe. Web site: www.chris-curtis.com
This post was provided with support from Hiscox Small Business Insurance.