There are some preconceived ideas and expectations that you might have had when you starting your own business.
Defining your own schedule:
Only mornings, only afternoons, late into the night, or all three.
Working wherever you want:
Coach, bed, beach, coffee shop...
Setting your own goals:
Being accountable only to yourself and your customers...
Deciding when you take breaks and vacations:
Being able to spend precious time with family and kids whenever you choose...
Yes, these are all possible benefits which could truly increase your happiness and wellness.
BUT, these are also factors that could jeopardise your happiness and wellness.
In this blog post I am sharing my best tips for balancing family, wellness, and business goals.
One of the perks of running your own business is that you can decide your ideal schedule and working hours, you can define work time and play time.
But this can easily turn around to bite you.
Without clearly defined boundaries for yourself, clients, or business associates, you could end up constantly working through lunch, late into the night, or even during those days when you are sick or feeling completely run down.
Another challenge regarding work hours overflowing into rest and family time is actually sticking to the schedule you set for yourself.
When you are so engrossed in writing your latest blog post, planning your market schedule for the next month, or creating new resources and content, time can easily run away from you.
Here are some of my best tips for creating a daily schedule that works for your business AND your personal life:
Clarify and define your personal and professional goals regularly
Then schedule your time according to the outcomes (specific results) that will drive you the furthest towards those goals.
In order to prioritize your outcomes so that you use your time efficiently, carefully consider the value of each outcome
What would it mean for you personally if you succeeded to reach each outcome? Inversely, what would it mean for you personally to fail to reach each outcome?
Schedule free time and family time
This is NOT a want, it is, in fact, a need - an emotional+physical+spritual need. Many of us feel guilty for taking an hour off to soak in the tub with a good book or get some extra sleep. "I could be using this time to connect with my prospects", you might be thinking. But free time should not be seen as indulgent or wasted.There are many things that we need to do regularly to support our wellness: get active, bond with our kids or husband, get adequate sleep, grow our relationship with God, etc. If you neglect to invest some time in rest, self-care and connecting with others, you will become worn out, drained, and eventually unproductive or negligent in your work.
Regularly check-in on your schedule and see what urgent tasks are left for the day
Tick off what you've already completed, and make sure that you aren't leaving certain things too late that might take up more time than you've allotted.
Move tasks around according to your energy levels and focus
If you have particular tasks that require high energy or immense focus, make sure you schedule those for when you are thinking and feeling your best. If that means you are doing a Facebook live at 8 am in the morning, or hosting a Webinar at 9 pm (hello night owls), then that's what ya gotta do!If you schedule draining or challenging tasks for when you usually aren't focussed or feeling quite drowsy, chances are you will procrastinate and put them off, they won't be done at a professional level, or you'll take much longer to complete them and then your work time will overflow into lunchtime or family time.
Some things that you have to do to for your business or home could be done in advance and in mass, therefore saving you from doing them over and over every day, spending a tonne of extra time on planning as well.For instance, deciding on the weekly meal plan on a Saturday or Sunday and cooking healthy wholesome meals in advance - preparing a few huge pots or casseroles for lunches and dinners, store in the fridge or freezer, each meal or portion in its own container for the week ahead.
Good posture and reducing the time you sit
Being able to work wherever you want sure is convenient.
If you feel like snuggling in bed all day or laid back on the couch - no problem, go ahead. Many of us turn our dining rooms into a workspace, which can be super convenient - both the kitchen and bathroom practically within reach. Conducting all meetings and discussions through email and video conferencing facilities makes rushing to and from an office and a meeting room completely needless.
These perks seem to make our lives easier in the short term, but they could eventually be very bad for our health.
If you sit on something like a couch or in bed while working or reading, you very likely won't focus on or maintain good posture. Bad posture causes muscle pain and fatigue, bloating and constipation, slow digestion and metabolism, low acid and acid reflux.
In a traditional office environment, you would probably have walked back and forth between a desk, the bathroom, the kitchen, and the meeting room or other offices.
For most, this would encourage walking at least several times a day. Now that you work for yourself, you can set up a workspace in the living room, dining room, or spare room - all of which are usually very close to the kitchen and bathroom. You also don't need to step away from your screen very often, since online meetings and email discussions are so accessible and convenient.
All of this means much less walking and much more sitting - this is a big problem.
When you sit, it's easier for fatty acids to clog your heart, because blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat. Just one day of too much sitting already affects your body's ability to respond to insulin, which may lead to diabetes since the pancreas then produces too much insulin.
Your brain works slower when your body is resting for too long and it will get less fresh blood and oxygen, which are necessary to trigger the release of brain-enhancing and mood-enhancing chemicals - this means you are more likely to feel sluggish, foggy, and even struggle with depressive symptoms.
Here are some of my best tips for encouraging good posture and moving your body more throughout your work day:
Use an exercise ball for a chair, this will engage your core muscles and help improve balance and flexibility
Occasional bouncing can also help your body interact with gravity a lot more than sitting on a stationary chair.
If you're not keen on that option, use an upright chair with no armrest, which will force you to sit up straight, and encourage shifting your body more frequently than a cushy office chair. You can also use a standing workstation.
Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and move about for at least 10 minutes each hour
You can either walk, stand, or take the opportunity to do a few simple exercises by your desk. What I would recommend is that you get up every 30 minutes to do a few minutes Foundation Training (example: youtu.be/BZcZenvWBlg) or Back Yoga (example: youtu.be/6Hn4sDjqLIA).
To allow the bones in your spine to stack well and the muscles alongside them to relax, sit with your bum sticking out slightly behind you. When you breathe, each in-and-out breath will automatically lengthen and settle your spine.
The J-shape that this encourages in your spine is far more natural than the S-shape that is usually advised. The J-shape refers to a posture where your back is straight, your lumbar relatively flat, and your bum is sticking out slightly.
By tucking in your pelvis, you lose about a third of the available space in your pelvic cavity, which compresses your internal organs. This is worsened when you are "tucked" and "hunched" while sitting. This biomechanically correct posture (stack sitting - S-shape) allows you to move freely, discourages pain, and allows your digestive organs to function without restrictions or blockages.
Another way to lengthen your spine is by using your backrest as a traction device. You will need either a towel or a specially designed traction cushion for this purpose. This simple move brings your back away from the backrest, lengthens your spine, and then roots you higher up against the backrest (example: youtu.be/n9CDhcVTAdc).
This position helps you maintain a lengthened spine, and by getting traction on your discs, you allow them to rehydrate and prevent the nerves from being pinched between your vertebrae. It will also help flatten out your lumbar area, and this in itself can sometimes provide immediate pain relief if you have sciatic nerve root pain.
To make sure you move more throughout the day, invest in small pockets of activity in between work sessions
Every time you get up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, take a stroll outside in the garden or around the house before sitting back down at your workstation. When taking a call, get up and stand or walk around the house or garden while talking on the phone.
Nurture and grow connections with others
Do you love that you are able to run your business according to your values, beliefs, and personal goals?
Perhaps you're like me and really thrive when you can work how and when you do your best.
I am so grateful for benefits like these, they have made living and working according to my purpose while raising a feisty little boy (into a strong and wise man) so much more fulfilling.
But working for yourself - BY YOURSELF, certainly has it's drawbacks. It is important to address these so that your emotional and spiritual health does not suffer in the long term.
When you work in a space which isn't shared with a colleague, employee or other co-workers, it can be a relief in the beginning. No one listening to annoying music and you don't have to put up with weird habits or someone talking loudly on their phone distracting you from your work. But after a few months, the isolation can get to you, it's quite normal to then start missing the silly office jokes, friendly chats, grabbing a quick coffee in the kitchen while encouraging each other about work or personal challenges. Cabin fever quickly starts to creep in, making you feel edgy or in a dark mood.
Many studies have shown the amazing health benefits of the amount and strength of social relationships in our lives.
For example, one prospective study in Alameda County showed that greater overall involvement with formal (e.g., religious organizations) and informal (e.g., friends and relatives) social ties was linked to more positive health behaviours over a ten-year period.
Research across disciplines and populations suggests possible ways in which social ties promote health. The most notable examples of these are social support, personal control, symbolic meanings and norms, and mental health. Social support refers to the emotionally sustaining qualities of relationships (e.g., a sense that one is loved, cared for, and listened to). Hundreds of studies have shown that social support benefits mental and physical health. Social support may have indirect effects on health through enhanced mental health, by reducing the impact of stress, or by fostering a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Supportive social ties may trigger physiological health improvements (e.g., reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones) that are beneficial to health and minimize unpleasant arousal that instigates risky behaviour. Personal control refers to individuals’ beliefs that they can control their life outcomes through their own actions. Social ties may improve personal control (possibly through social support), personal control is then advantageous for health habits, mental health, and physical health.
I can go on and on, but hopefully, you get the gist of it. You can read more about the health benefits of social connections at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/
Here are some of my best tips for growing and nurturing connections with others, while running your own business:
Arrange a standing weekly 'date' with a friend or business acquaintance
You can use this time to have a playdate with another mom if you have small kids at home, or you can take your dog for a walk with a friend who lives close by, or meet with a business partner, mentor, or another like-minded woman who can offer support in your life or business journey.
Get involved at your local church or charity organization
Spend a few hours during the week or over the weekend donating your time and skills to support these organizations. You will most likely meet new people and make friends who share the same interests. Another important benefit is that donating your time and knowledge to a cause that has a purpose outside of yourself, can greatly increase your sense of joy and fulfilment, thus improving your emotional and spiritual health.
Attend monthly events with friends or acquaintances who have similar business challenges or goals
It is much easier to bond and deepen friendships when we share similar past or present challenges and future goals. In addition, when spending time with other women who are on a similar journey, you can feel motivated by your progress and excited about your dreams, which can drive you to grow yourself and your business through and beyond your challenges or setbacks.
Start a weekly or monthly book club or other get together that revolves around a shared passion or hobby
If you struggle to get all of the 'club members' together in the same room on a day that suits everyone, host it as a web party instead. Although bonding with new and old friends is much easier when we can be together in person, we have to recognize how fast-paced our lives have become, there are so many 'things' that take up our time, we often have to compromise on 'Plan B', if we truly want to spend time with good friends or new friends.
Spend time in fellowship with God
I want you to remember this one, which is why I put it last on my list. When we are feeling lonely, overwhelmed, insecure, or disconnected, there is no better place to find comfort and solace than at our Father's feet. I will personally declare, as will countless others, of how much love and assurance I've felt after spending a few minutes in deep strategic prayer and in God's word. But it doesn't end there, it is important for us to remain consciously connected to Him the entire day - in fellowship with Him. This is an essential component of a Spiritual Life which is growing and being nourished every day. Spiritual Health is essential for us to give and receive real love (1 Corinthians 13:4-13) and create a life of true joy and fulfillment.
Christianity is not, at its core, the observance of rituals or rules. Rather, it is a walk of personal fellowship with the living God. "5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin." I John 1:5-7 (NIV). What does it mean to have fellowship with God? A clear and very easy to apply exposition can be found in: https://bible.org/…/lesson-4-how-have-fellowship-god-1-john….To have fellowship with God, we must recognize that He is absolutely holy (1:5). To have fellowship with God, we must not walk in the darkness (1:6, 8, 10). “To walk” points to the general tenor of one’s life. Since to walk in the light involves confessing our sins (1:9), to walk in the darkness means ignoring or denying our sins. It is to block out the light of God’s holiness, as revealed in His Word, and to live as the world lives, making up your own ideas about right and wrong apart from God (see Eph. 4:17-19; 5:7-12). It is to justify your own behavior either by redefining sin, by blaming it on other factors or by doing away with the entire concept of sin. To walk in darkness is to try to hide from God, rather than to expose your life to Him.
If you liked this article, let me know in the comments what you found most interesting, or what changes you struggle with the most.