Honoring the limits
As a mom, you think that you can bend the space-time continuum. And that you can just create more hours out of nowhere. And honestly, I think that's why you are exhausted. You can't do it all, and you need to figure out what the limits are so you are honoring the limits every day.
Time exercise to help with honoring the limits
So I want to share an exercise with you that I have people do really early in Bookkeeper Training School. This exercise is so valuable.
Before you start talking about adding anything more to your life, you need to do this exercise.
Especially with the new year coming and you start thinking about all the things you would like to add and do.
You can do this in Excel or on a piece of paper. Write it down. This exercise will require some adding, so that is why I suggest doing it in either Excel or a Google Spreadsheet.
Overview of the time exercise
First, before you start writing anything down, I'm going to give you an overview. So this is what you're going to do. You are going to figure out where you want to spend your time. Not where you currently spend your time. Focus on where you want to spend your time.
This exercise has been really eye-opening for a lot of moms because when they write down everything that they want to do and they assign time to it, they blow out the number of hours in a week.
There are 168 hours in a week. That's all you get.
Write down what you want to do every week
At the top of the sheet, you will write down 168 hours. And then what I want you to do is I want you to list the things that you want to do during the week.
The first thing you put on your list should be sleep. Scientists recommend that you should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every single day. Sleep is essential. It's when your brain heals itself, and your body flushes all the toxins out. And if you don't get enough sleep, it's just really detrimental to your health.
When you don't get enough sleep every day, you start to feel rundown, sick or your mind is all foggy. You just don't function well.
If you manage to sleep 8 hours a day, seven days a week, that's 56 hours of your week gone! That's a third of your weekly time, gone!
Now, what else do you have to do during the day? You need time to get ready, to eat, cleaning up, meal prepping, grocery shopping, homeschooling, getting some exercise. There are many things that you need to do every day. Make sure you write them all down.
Assign times to the things you wrote down
And then what I want you to do is go through and assign time to those things. For right now you don't need to worry about the total. Just put in what you want to be able to do or what you think you should be able to do.
Remember to give yourself some time to wind-down. You can't go from 150 miles an hour to sleep. That doesn't work. So have some relax and wind-down time every night.
The reason that this is such an exciting exercise to do because it makes you think about honoring the limits.
Honoring your limits
I was listening to a podcast this morning on “What's Essential” with Greg McKeown. And in the podcast, he said, “you have to honor the limits”. You have physical limits. But there are also limits on the amount of time you have. You have emotional and mental limits.
The problem is that as a mom, you think you can just keep pushing ahead through everything. And yeah, you can probably do that short term, but eventually, you're just going to burn out.
I was telling Jeff in September that we needed to look out for the moms. I said we've got to watch the moms because they're so much on their plates right now. And it's getting worse, and it's getting deeper and harder. At some point, you have to say, “I can't do all this anymore. I have hit the limit and I've hit the limit for too long.”
Because the problem is if you're riding at your limit all the time, that's still too much. You really need to have some margin between going at 150 miles an hour and stop. You cannot go at full speed all the time. You just can't, it's not good for you.
Think about how many things you try to shove into your week
This exercise really makes you think about the limit. It makes you think about how many things you are actually trying to shove into your week.
I had a woman reach out to me in Bookkeeper Training School. And she said, “I'm trying to cram 250 hours a week into 168. Now I understand why I'm so tired.” Because until she put it down on paper and she really looked at it, she didn't realize why she was so stressed out all the time and why she felt so anxious all the time.
That's why I think that this exercise is absolutely critical for you right now. It's something that as a mom you need to do to put a little bit of realism back in your life.
As a recap: You're going to write down everything that you have to get done in a week. Including the things that you enjoy doing like sleep, playing with your kids, and family time.
Then assign a time, How much time are you going to spend on that for the week? Don't forget things like eating, meal prep, or grocery shopping.
As a mom, most likely you all those things that you actually do. What you might need to do when you're doing this exercise, is actually track what you're doing for a little bit, or at least write things down at the end of the day.
Once you've written down everything and assigned a time to it, add it all up and see where you are.
I love to know what your total number of hours is when you first start this exercise. Most times the reaction I've found that people have to this exercise is “Oh my goodness! How can I get this all done?”
Honoring the limits requires you to decide what's really important to you
Doing this exercise forces you to make trade-offs. It forces you to decide what's really important to you. And then you have to start making the tough choices because I'm sure there are so many things that you want to do. But remember you can do anything, but you can't do everything.
And so you've got to make choices for what you want to do.
Right now my three two biggest things are basically are Ingram Digital Media and all the things that go with that and then my health and family. So for my business focus, it's Small Biz Mama, Bookkeeper Training School, and Empower Bookkeeper Network and investing in all that. And then my family is incredibly important, but in order for me to be able to support those two things, my health has to be part of the equation.
Because if I'm not sleeping, not eating right, and not exercising, then the rest of it can't happen. I have to figure out how I get those things that I think are essential in order to be able to do other things that are critically important. It's hard and it's a constant battle.
Post your list somewhere where you can see it every day
And because it's a constant battle, when you get your list done, you need to post it somewhere where you're going to see it all the time, because you're going to need a reminder.
One of the reasons that I love the Full Focus Planner so much is that it makes me sit down every single week and determine what are the things that are important to me? What are the routines that are important? What are the goals I have that are important? And it makes me review them every single week so that I make sure that I'm getting them done.
Review your list every week to help keep you on track in honoring your limits
If you review every week, you can see if you're moving in that direction because if you don't look at that list again, your schedule is just going to go back to normal.
It's the same thing with budgeting. If you're not sitting and looking at your budget on a regular basis, your money is just kind of going to go wherever it decides to go. When you're not sitting there thinking about your health and being conscious of the steps that you're taking, then eventually you're going to revert back to old habits.
This exercise is probably going to take you maybe 15 or 20 minutes to do, and then it might take some time to process through it and say, “Wow! What have I been doing?” So you might want to try to give yourself like an hour to do this. Maybe after the kids go to bed or wake up early one morning and do this. But it's, it's one of those things that is really eyeopening. And so I hope you'll do it.
If you have any questions, reach out to us. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment below, or join our group, the Small Biz Mama group on Facebook, where you can come for help, engagement, comfort, community, and let us know how we can help you. Because I know right now, this is a really hard time for us moms.