One of the most difficult aspects of working from home or starting your own business is TIME MANAGEMENT. Structure starts slipping and boundaries start demolishing! Becoming a creative entrepreneur taught me the value of time in a way that nothing else has (truly, it’s been one of the toughest lessons to learn). For five years STRAIGHT, my New Year’s Resolution was to be more structured, productive and intentional to ensure that each day reflected a worthy use of my precious time. Despite being excited and engaged in the brand I was building, I was also frustrated and fed up with my way of operating. I knew I needed to run my vision like a true business, yet my obligations of being a wife and mother were taking precedent to my personal passion. I was stuck in an anxiety ridden brain fog and something had to give! But HOW?
I started to track how I spent my time by recording every single task throughout my day, just like the way a food diary logs consumption. Soon I was able to detect personal patterns —when I was constructive, when I wasted time, the types of activities that energized me and led to positive outcomes and what made me feel pressure and resulted in stagnancy. Seeing this daily accounting in black and white was a personal revelation: if I brought myself joy, I was able to share that with my husband and kids and community AND develop my business. This inspired some major mind shifts. I started to perceive the every day’s in a new way. My exasperated HOW!? became a grateful WOW!
By dissecting my time, I recognized my major error was that I was not making myself a priority anywhere in my day—or, therefore—my life and I made a conscious, newly informed decision to change. I gave myself permission to let my goals share my focus and attention and I forgave myself for not being able to “do it all” alone, but I also held my feet to the fire in the areas where I truly was being inadequate. I began to view delegating tasks as a strength rather than a failure, which eliminated time sucks and freed up more of my schedule for what gives me joy.
I have conversations with women business partners all the time about splitting work between child and family obligations. The pull between work and motherhood is uncomfortable and I often hear from my friends and collaborators that they are scared to track their days because they don’t want to know or admit their habits. Fight the fear! I can honestly say that no matter what you learn, you can only stand to benefit.
The exercise that made the most profound impact for me was in labeling my days. After establishing what required my energy and effort and where I wanted to invest more of my time, I was able to make room for my goals alongside my obligations and implement my priorities into each day and week. I chose days to spend working on and IN my business and followed through with my commitment to this new regiment. Reflecting on my reordered priorities, my practice of labeling my days is in alignment with my short and long-term goals.
Change is always difficult and often scary but it can start small. I hope you will join me and the Camp Climb community in giving yourself the love and support you so willingly give to others. Use this Label Your Days worksheet to take that first small step. And remember, you are not alone! We climb together!