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Living The Dream: Are You Balancing Life And Work Intentionally?

Cat LeBlancI don’t hide the fact that I worked damn hard to build this business – hard and smart that is. But there’s always room for optimisation. Knowing what I know now, I probably could have done it in half the time, but as they say, everyone has 20:20 vision in hindsight. While I do think you have to put the effort in to start off with to get the right momentum (money loves speed) you shouldn’t be killing yourself.

For me personally, if my income isn’t secure I can’t relax, and that is what drove to me work harder than perhaps I should have. The good news is that for the past few weeks, I’ve been working hard… at not working so hard!

In fact I’ve been on a “Living the Dream” schedule. (Yes, I made that up for myself.) I am expressly forbidden from working more than 6 hours a day. (I time myself to get each task done without distraction, as it’s easy to stuff around on Facebook for hours and think you are working!). I go outside and get fresh air every day, make sure to do something fun, and I meditate twice a day.

I didn’t talk about this to start off with in case I didn’t stick to it but I can report IT FEELS AMAZING!!

So why did I have to force myself to do this? Because as someone who deeply cares about her business, it’s hard for me to step away. I’ve talked about this before, but it is very hard to stick to.

Living Your Dream

Actually the thing that finally made me take the leap and implement my dream schedule was when one of my coaches said to me, “You’re not selling information, you’re selling transformation, and you have to personify that transformation.”

That hit hard. At that time I wasn’t doing a great job personifying the kind of balance between work and life that I really want my clients (and myself) to have.

I realised that I had been sucked into my whole business addiction all over again, and I need to enjoy what I have built more. I built this business to create freedom for myself and for others – and I had been creating it more for others than myself.

While it has been hard to let some tasks wait a week longer than they might have before, overall I feel fantastic. Woo hoo!  And I want this feeling for you, too.

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Identify your dream schedule. Everybody’s dream schedule is going to look a little different! For some people, 6 hours a day might seem like too little; for others it will be too much. A writer I know works two hours a day, three days a week, and then six hours one day a week.  Identify what your dream schedule looks like.
  • Make a plan for your non-work time. It may sound bonkers, but if you’re as work-focused as I am, if you don’t have another activity planned, you might head back to the computer! Maybe you want to take a walk or go to the gym, maybe you want to meditate or do yoga, or maybe it’s about spending time with your family.
  • Use a timer. There are plenty of apps out there that can help you with this. Toggl is a free time tracking app you can use to record how you spend your time, but if you just need a reminder to get up and walk around for a few minutes, I like the Awareness app. Timing yourself can also help you be more productive when you are working.
  • Institute switch-off Sundays. Well, it doesn’t have to be Sunday, but I think it’s very valuable to have at least one day of the week when you aren’t obsessively checking email, posting things to Facebook, and so on. Try to give yourself at least one full day off every week.
  • Set boundaries. Depending on when and how you work, this might mean letting family know that when your door is closed, you are not available (except in an emergency!). Or it might mean getting crystal clear with clients on how quickly they can expect you to respond to emails, etc. You don’t have to be “on” all the time; you get to decide your own office hours.

This is what I created my business for. I just had to step back a tiny bit to look at it again and see it. So look forward to more personal Facebook posts and tweets as I share more about what I’m doing!

What’s your dream?

Regardless of where you are in your business journey – I challenge you to do the same!

How can you live your dream schedule? What does it look like?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

4 Responses to Living The Dream: Are You Balancing Life And Work Intentionally?

  1. “You’re not selling information, you’re selling transformation, and you have to personify that transformation.” This is powerful. Thanks Cat, inspiring as always and I love hearing about your dream schedule and that it includes meditation twice a day :)

  2. After 10 years of trying I think I am on the meditation train! I joined SoMM by the way, so I am looking forward to a transformative year. Thanks so much for commenting!

    Cat xx

  3. Hey Cat – this is a great post and so timely. A lot of people running their own businesses are naturally go getters and hard workers. Ironically they are the same people that do it to create more freedom and time etc in their lives. Without the boundaries that a traditional job working for “the man” set, you can get carried away and become burnt out. So yes – setting really clear boundaries is a must.

    On that note, I am off to the gym. Thanks for this reminder!

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