Your time is precious, so make it non-negotiable
Teresa Schlup has first hand experience with the demands of being a busy mom, wife, business owner and volunteer. She also knows a thing or two about setting clear boundaries to protect her time. When you stop negotiating your time you’ll be less stressed and get more done.
So, here is some great advice from someone who is an expert at setting boundaries:
Setting clear office hours is a great first step in setting clear boundaries.
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen busy people make is always being available. This can be particularly true for those of us who love to volunteer or are in the service industry such as coaching, mentoring or even web design consulting.
As service-minded people we have this crazy idea that any downtime we have should be filled with “meaningful pursuits” or being of service to others. We get caught up in the idea that if we have any white space on the calendar we are obligated to accommodate anyone who says they need our help.
If we are not careful our lives soon become filled with energy vampires who put incredibly unrealistic demands upon our time. Before we know it our schedules are busting at the seams, and we are on our way to serious burnout.
Don’t forget that YOU are in control of your schedule.
It is so important to remember that YOU are the master of your schedule. You don’t have to accept every appointment because when you are always available to others you begin compromising what is truly important. You’ll start noticing that your personal, community and professional obligations get out of balance. Don’t let this happen. Take ownership of the fact that YOU are the MASTER of your schedule!
Take a little time to determine what days each week you are available as a community leader and volunteer. This may vary from week to week, and that’s okay. Just make sure you give yourself at least one night off from everything each week. This includes taking the night off from laundry, organizing and other daily tasks.
Protect your time by blocking off nights and weekends.
Are you available nights and weekends? As a community leader and volunteer this is most likely when you will be needed. If you are a business owner this may be necessary for you. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be available every single night and throughout the entire weekend.
To avoid the life-sucking drain of energy vampires be VERY clear on when you are available. Intentionally consider time for family, friends and yourself before you agree to anything. Take the time to discuss your decision with close family and friends who may be impacted by your schedule. This can help you avoid any struggles and resentment in the future when you are putting in extra hours.
Stop negotiating your time by saying “No” to exceptions.
Even after you have made your boundaries perfectly clear, there will still be certain people who consider themselves an exception to the rule. Being the giving, accommodating, kind person you are, it is likely that you want to say, “yes”.
But saying “yes” is the first step in compromising what is most important to you. This will soon lead to making sacrifices you truly don’t want to be making.
Stay firm and remember that you never have to explain why you aren’t available. Simply stating that you are not available is enough. No is a complete sentence.
Teresa Schlup is a successful business owner, mentor, mother and the official web designer of Cloud Nine Organizing. Contact Teresa here if you are in need of a website refresh or a new built-from-scratch website. You can also get some amazing business guidance and advice Grow Your Biz Community.
Need to prioritize your time and set some clear boundaries? Check out the Productivity & Time Management Planner for help.