How to Create Boundaries Around Your TimeJul 15, 2020
When was the last time you worked ON your business? And by “on” your business I mean you worked on creating a new offer, growing your audience, or developing exciting new content. Was it this week? This month? This year? The reality is, especially for service-based entrepreneurs, it’s way too easy to get wrapped up IN your business. It’s so dang easy to go day after day, week after week enveloped in client work and administrative tasks. After all, that’s the stuff that’s all up in your calendar and inbox Every. Single. Day. screaming to be paid attention to.
Made 4 More started three weeks ago and one of the first things we did was a calendar audit. We dove deep into what we were spending our time doing versus what we want to be spending our time doing. But it’s more than simply finding the hours in our schedule. Do you actually believe you are worthy of time? Over and over I see women prioritize other people’s time over their own, and over their business.
It makes sense. In a patriarchal, capitalistic, racist society it makes sense that womxn are taught their time comes second (or let’s be real, often dead last). But we can, and must, call bullshit. My partner and I have personally been navigating the conversation of time since COVID began while we both work from home full-time with an 8-month old baby.
Whose time gets priority? Does that person always get priority? How do you speak up for yourself if you feel your time isn’t being respected? And when do we bend or renegotiate our time?
There are three key points to walk away from this post with in terms of your time. First, you must believe your time is worthy; that you are worthy of spending your time. Second, the people in your life must also believe your time is worth something. And third, you need to put some structure into place to protect your time. Let’s dive in further.
On the surface it can be relatively easy to think, “Yeah, my time is worth something. My time should be respected”, but it can get a lot more complicated in practice. Let’s look at an example.
Since COVID my partner now works 100% remote. We both work full-time jobs and do this from the comfort of our relatively small apartment, with an 8-month old baby. On Sundays we take 30-min to look at our schedules for the upcoming week to decide if anyone needs to move calls so someone is with the baby. Overall this system works well and we’re super fortunate to have a babysitter who comes three days a week for a few hours during the middle of the work day.
But this system is not perfect, nor does it always work.
About a month ago on a Monday when there was no babysitter my partner and I fell into a day that we had experienced before. A day where because his schedule is fixed and mine is more flexible, the burden of childcare fell straight into my lap, and sister it fell hard. As the hours on being the ON-parent rolled on by, my resentment and anger grew.
It must be nice to be able to just work work work.
If I wasn’t breastfeeding, this wouldn’t be happening.
It’s like he doesn’t even notice that I haven’t done a single ounce of work today.
If I was a man, this wouldn’t be happening to me.
What if I had a super important call today?
What if I disappeared? What if I died?
Would he notice the baby then?!
These were my thoughts. 100%. I knew my time mattered, but try as I might, I couldn’t get a boundary to stick. “When will you be able to take the baby?” I asked. “How much longer are you working on that project?” I inquired. But nothing. The division of labor wasn’t budging that day.
I tell you this not to blame my partner or to bitch and moan that it’s hard being a working parent (it’s hard as all hell), but as a reminder that even in a relationship where we deeply value each others time, where we consider ourselves active feminists and progressive, MY TIME was still falling through the cracks.
By the end of the day I was downright irate. I could hardly look at my partner not to mention I was exhausted, totally touched out by the babe and starving.
I turned to my partner and asked, “Do you believe my time is as important and valuable as yours?”.
He was taken aback and replied, “Of course I do.”
“Your actions today did not align with this belief. I matter. My work matters. My time matters. I need to know you will do better next time” I said.
Was it easy saying that to the human I love more than anyone? Hell no. Did it take me pretty much all day to come up with those words? You bet. Will it never happen again? Not sure. Did it make an indelible impact in our relationship for the better? You betcha. See, not only do I need to value my time, but my partner (and my team, my babysitter, my family, my friends) also needs to deeply value my time, just as I value theirs.
Setting boundaries around our time is hard, AND I promise you it gets easier with practice. I put together some easy scripts for you to practice with your partner, with clients, and with friends to get you feeling in your power.
Your time is valuable, friend. I know you know this. Now it’s time to set some boundaries around it so you can free yourself up to work in your genius zone and grow your business. Next week we’ll be talking about how to arrange your calendar to create space to work ON your business.
Grab the scripts here and let me know in the comments what comes up for you when you consider setting boundaries around your time!
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