Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
You can't underestimate the power and impact of a great spouse and life partner.
In the second chapter of Genesis, verse 18, we read
The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him."
Now I realize you may already be married and/or divorced so giving you this advice may be like closing the gate after the cattle get out, but it's still great advice.
I've been married to the same drama-free, easy-going, roll-with-punches, organized woman since Sept 30, 1995.
She has a business degree from a quality private university here in SoCal—The University of Redlands—and she had a great job with Aetna when we met.
After knowing each other maybe three months we started dating for about three months. We then got engaged and were married within three months of getting engaged. (Good things do come in threes.)
The Monday after our Saturday wedding I moved her away from her family here in SoCal to an Air Force base in Southern Mississippi.
The day before our one year anniversary we got the news she was pregnant with our first child.
Six more births and three miscarriages later she's still at home raising seven kids from 22 to 5, homeschooling two girls, handling the books and fulfillment for my business, and keeping it all together for us.
Choose those you bring into your life carefully.
Put Your Oxygen Mask On First
We've all heard the safety briefing from the flight attendants on every flight about "in the unlikely event we should experience a sudden loss of cabin pressure, four oxygen masks will descend from above. If you're traveling with someone who needs assistance, put yours on first before assisting them."
The airlines are not greedy, selfish meanie heads who don't like your kids, elderly parents, or sick friends.
They know that if you pass out while trying to provide aid to your traveling companion that you'll both end up dying, so putting your oxygen mask on first is best for both of you.
So what are you doing—or not doing—to take care of yourself so you can take care of those around you including both your clients and your family?
Pay Yourself First
This ties in closely with putting your oxygen mask.
You can't give what you don't have and since we all have the same 24 hours in a day you need to plan your work and work your plan.
You also need to plan your play and play to the plan.
Below is a screenshot of my calendar a couple of weeks from now. I scrolled ahead a little so I didn't have too much private client information to blur out and to also better demonstrate how I pay myself first.
What you see are color-coded "appointments" I set for myself in the key areas of:
- Spiritual development
- Physical fitness
- Self-development (professional)
- Business marketing / promotion
- Family / personal time*
- *Four out of five of my weekdays end at 5 PM, which is family time. Also, as my children have events such as soccer games, performing in plays, etc. they get added to the calendar in yellow, which is the color I use for personal development / family time
Now, when I share a link with a prospect or client who requests a meeting, the times in white are the options from which they can choose. However, my calendar presets that prospects and clients see
- Exlude Mondays (those are set aside for my podcast recording, production, and promotion)
- Exclude Fridays after 2 PM
- Begin at 10 AM and end at 3 PM Pacific.
Yes, that means clients on the East Coast must wait until 1 PM their time to speak with me and it means my Pacific Coast clients must wrap things up by 3 PM.
While I will make modifications to my calendar for critical situations, those are the exceptions rather than the norm.
By following this process, I force myself to get my work done around my life instead of the other way around.
Do some big projects or big launches or hectic travel creep up from time to time and mess up this schedule?
But again, those are exceptions rather than the norm.
So open your calendar and create recurring appointments for yourself for everything that matters, and when they matter.
If you are a night owl, block out 10 PM to 2 AM for your creative work. If you are a morning person, schedule your workout at 5 AM or your Bible study at 6 AM or your personal development at 7 AM.
If you have young kids in school and you like having lunch with them or helping out in their classes from 11 AM to 1 PM, put it on the calendar.
DO NOT FEEL BAD FOR HAVING A LIFE!
"I do it all for my family" right? That's your mantra isn't it? That's what you tell everyone, correct? So create your schedule to be with them.
One thing you'll soon notice is how few parents are at their 4th grader's lunch or recess. That's when you'll realize how good it is to be in control of your life, which means you're in control of your calendar.
Treat Yourself As Your Own Best Client
Like the previous two points, this one is also closely related. You are #1.
Early on, before this new calendar and life has set in and become routine and cherished as well as making you productive and your work profitable, you'll soon find yourself fudging with the schedule.
You'll cut corners on your personal development time. You'll skip a workout. You'll read a verse instead of a chapter in your Bible because of some "urgent work" that needs your attention "now!"
But let me ask you something: How profitable and productive would your business be if you cut corners on a client project or called them at 5:27 AM and told them you wouldn't make the 5:30 AM appointment that you scheduled a week ago?
You and I both know the answer to that.
You are your own best client.
Set appointments with yourself for what matters in your life and keep them. After all, if you can't get to what matters in your life, what else really matters?
If You Can Measure It You Can Improve It
The final secret to having it all is to measure what matters because as W. Edwards Deming described in "Out Of The Crisis," if it can be measured it can be improved.
Back in late 2010 I got a physical because I was getting a new life insurance policy. (With seven kids, I always need A LOT of insurance!)
I work out and eat relatively well and had always scored "preferred" on past physicals, so I didn't give this one much thought until...
My test came back as one level below preferred.
I was a little chunky.
I was 15 pounds chunky.
And if that wasn't bad enough, these test results came back the day before Thanksgiving.
Yes, THAT Thanksgiving!
The egg nog and gravy and pecan pie and whipped cream Thanksgiving, which is quickly followed by the more-eggnog and pumpkin pie and sugar cookie Christmas, which is followed by hot wings and cheeseburgers and beer and whiskey bowl games, which is followed by champagne and prime rib and ice cream New Year's parties...
So surely I could start my new diet and exercise routine in 5 to 6 weeks, right? RIGHT?
Yes and no.
MOST people would wait...and put on another 5 to 6 pounds...and then start the new year 20-21 pounds overweight instead of 15 pounds overweight, which could be more than they wanted to tackle.
I'm not most people.
I knew that if I could measure it, I could improve it, so I found an app to track my weight and I found My Net Diary. (This is NOT an affiliate link.)
This app made it simple and easy to track EVERYTHING I put into my mouth.
It also made it simple and easy to track my workouts, including the calories I burned.
Finally, it made it simple and easy to track my current weight, my preferred weight, and my weight goal date and show me exactly how many calories I could consume each day to hit my goal.
On New Year's Day I was down exactly 15 pounds.
And I ate cake, drank beer, and even had In-N-Out burgers. (Everything in moderation.)
I tracked what I ate and what I did and I hit my goal.
And that's the secret to having it all.
Let me know below what you think.
What tools do you use? What goals do you want to hit? State them loudly and proudly and let's hold ourselves accountable to achieve them.
Now go sell something.