I remember the sinking feeling that came over me when a speaker at an event I was attending reminded us that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, it’s how we use them that separates us.
Ouch, I thought, there were so many things on my list I felt like I needed to do and even more than I wanted to do and at the same time, I never felt like I had enough time in the day. I’d been building a bucket list and hoped that “one day”, I’d find enough time to start working on it, but had nothing planned except to keep working my you know what off till some magical day arrived.
Boy, did I need to make some changes in my transaction coordinator business I thought. But what? Initially, I thought, I’ve got to find a way to do more. My inner critic instantly went to “girl, you’ve got just to work harder, you’ve got to cram more into the day.” So, I gave that a whirl. Let me tell you, it didn’t work, and as a matter of fact, it almost put me in the hospital.
Finally, at my wit’s end, I met with my coach to work on my time management problem. I laid out for her my plans, what I was struggling with and how I needed to find a way to get more done so I could one day have a life. She asked me to describe my day, she made notes and listened intently. Then she said, “if you want to put more into a full jar, you’re going to have to take some things out”.
She went onto gently reminded me it was okay to say NO and that saying no to requests that weren’t in alignment with what I truly wanted was actually saying YES to myself. I know, deep stuff, right?!
So together, we looked at some of the things that were consuming the most amount of my time and making me feel the most depleted. I came up with a list of things I would start saying no to, and a list of things I would delegate as well as a list of things I would eliminate. Here are a few of the things that helped me that may also help you:
1) I delegated my bookkeeping. It was something I wasn’t very good at, and it took me hours to do, and then there were the hours of anxiety leading up to it followed by the anxiety wondering if I’d done it all right. I discussed with my CPA, and she put me in touch with someone on her team who reconciles my books monthly, keeps them all current and does all this for about $250 a month.
2) I hired an admin for our team – not only does she support the team in opening files, but she also covers for them when they are off for the day. This alone drastically reduced my stress by like 100-fold, I loved supporting my team in taking time off, but it made all of my projects take a back seat – it also meant those days in addition to their work, I also had to stay late and do mine. Our admin is loved by the team, and she does a great job of supporting them and me when needed.
3) I started my day by meditating for 10 minutes via my favorite app Calm, and reading something or journaling for another 30 minutes before I checked my email. I use to be one of those, wake up and check email in bed kind of people. And even if I wasn’t instantly responding, I was already in my head working on a solution – it’s the fixer in me. So I started saying YES to myself and no to rolling out of bed and working within a few minutes of waking up. Confession time – this was really hard for me, and yet it’s paid off the biggest for me. I now arrive at my desk feeling good and ready for the day, rather than feeling rushed into it.
4) I started blocking out time on my calendar just for me – an hour here, an hour there, where I disconnect from the internet and turn my phone on silent. In that time, I do something that I really enjoy, just for me. Generally, it’s reading time or extra writing time, both two of my favorite things. Other times I use it to work on an art project or to veg out to a series on Netflix. Whatever it is I chose, that time is for me – and no one else gets an appointment then. Oh, and I’ve released clients and friends who don’t respect this.
5) I block out time quarterly for business building activities. Often this is done with a fellow entrepreneur, where we meet, chat about something we’re working, support each other where needed then set about doing it, right then and there. Usually, this is a 6-hour block of time, and it’s wholly focused on the task at hand. I go airplane mode on the phone and turn off all distractions to make the best of this time I’ve blocked out. It’s incredible how much we get done in just a few hours by doing this.
6) I made a list of the things that were truly important to me, time with my family, the Grand Ginger Princess, art project, travel, time in nature, etc., then I started putting those on the calendar. Each Wednesday now I spend the afternoon with the Grand Ginger Princess. I’ve planned trips already this year to Texas, Florida, and Mexico, and its only January. I don’t have all the details lined up, but I do know when I’ll be going and that if anyone else requests my time then, I’ll politely say no. I’ve also started reviewing my bucket list and planning those things now, not leaving them to chance for some day un-promised day in the future. In two weeks, I have a date at the local RV shop to look at a little camper trailer to tow behind my Jeep.
I’m still a work in progress, there are days when I have blocked out me time, and something crazy happens that pulls me into it at work. That’s part of the entrepreneur life, but I always reschedule that time as it’s important to me to keep it. And some days, there is a ding on my phone that I can’t ignore before I’ve finished up my morning routine; generally, it’s a team member or family member who really did need me and I’m happy I could help, then I go back to my scheduled me time.
I share this experience with you to I’m far from perfect and know that I never will be – there are many things I’d like to do, that just won’t fit into my calendar. And that’s okay, they were really not as important as the other things I’m making time for.
If you’d like to chat about time management and finding a way to make time for the things that are most important to YOU and your transaction coordinator business – check out my coaching page. https://transactioncoordinatoracademy.com/coaching/