Anyone who knows me, knows I'm the Queen of boundaries. Up until my late twenties I didn't have very good boundaries - with friends, family, work - and I became completely burned out to the point where I knew I had to start saying "no" to certain things and certain people so that I could say "yes" more whole-heartedly to everything else.
My first week of starting my own business and being officially "on my own" was a little chaotic (not to mention my parents were staying with me, but that's another story). I found that I was trying to schedule as many meetings and calls as I could (the more meetings and calls the better, right?) and I was scrambling from one coffee shop to the next that finally by Thursday I realized, "Uh, when am I supposed to send over that proposal I promised on Tuesday?" I was exhausted and I hadn't even sat my butt down in my newly decorated home office to do actual work. This was a sure-fire way to run my business into the ground - fast.
So I took out my planner (and cried a little to my dad, to be honest), and did what I knew I had to, but was afraid to do: I blocked out only certain days to hold meetings and certain days to be in the office doing nothing but work. Now, when a meeting opportunity comes up, I am only available on specific days of the week (even if my calendar is wide open). The other days are blocked out - literally - with work. 2-3 hours to focus on one client, 1 hour for blogging, 1 hour for lunch and walking Max, 2 hours for grading papers for the class I'm teaching this semester, 1 hour for follow-up calls, 1 hour for managing my social media, 1 hour for yoga.
It's not a perfect science, but when I block out entire chunks of time on my calendar, I'm finding that I stick to it - and don't aimlessly walk around the house feeling panicked that I have so much to do and no time to do it. I know exactly what I need to do - it's already on my calendar.
So many people said to me when I started my own business, "Oh my gosh, you'll be able to sleep in, and take naps, and quit early - I'm so jealous!" But that hasn't happened. I'm still up before 8AM (uggggh) for meetings and phone calls, I'm still at my desk until 6PM, and I don't take naps during the afternoon - unless I put it on the schedule.