Ep 176 - One Little Thing That Changed The Game On Boundaries For Me

Jul 20, 2022
Tina Tower Her Empire Builder Podcast

Boundaries - both personal and professional ones - are critical for all business owners to be able to perform at a high level and live the life you want to be able to live. A life of design.

After being in business for over 17 years, I’ve had no choice but to learn what I am naturally skilled at, what I am not, and how I can leverage those to ensure my business will work best for me for sustainability and longevity.


The Power Of White Space

Like a lot of people, I have a love-hate relationship with time. I never have enough of it. If I have a day in my calendar with no appointments, I get giddy with excitement because I can do whatever I feel like doing.

But then a million choices pop up out of nowhere..

Do I take this day to rest?
Do I take the day to go to the beach and read a novel?
Do I take the day to go and exercise, have lunch with my husband and some sneaky daytime sex?
Do I take the day to organize the shelves and pack everything away that's been accumulating?
Do I take the day to clean the house?

There are so many different demands on our time, both on our schedules and when we have that little bit of white space.

I know that it seems very counterintuitive to create as much white space in your calendar as possible when you are so busy. I don't like to wear the badge of busyness as a badge of honor, but the fact is, as a woman I have a lot of responsibilities.

AND I absolutely love my work.

However, I know that I don't perform at my peak, and my clients don't get the best out of me when I'm focused on working all of the time.


Themed Days For The Win

At the beginning of 2021 I set my daily schedule to a strict theme.

Mondays and Tuesdays are high-performance days. This is when I schedule Her Empire Builder membership calls, masterclasses, coaching appointments, podcast guesting, and speaking for other people.

Wednesday is ‘hump day’ (but not in a bad way!) This is where I get the deep work done, like course and product development, pipelines, lead magnet creation, admin, finances, marketing plans etc

Thursday is my white space day. I like to leave this day completely free in my calendar, so that I can simply do what I feel like doing. It’s restorative, and it’s very important. 

 Friday is my non-negotiable day off. 

When my calendar is completely empty, that is when all the good stuff gets going. It's when I can look like I have disappeared from the world. I turn off everything - no emails, no notifications on my phone, no nothing. And I have space to create.

The Good Stuff happens when I'm walking the dog on the beach, or when I'm sitting on the sand watching the boys surf. I have had so many good ideas while I'm just sitting there, staring into the abyss.

And what I’ve learned is that sometimes the most productive thing that I can do is to be unproductive.


The Big Game Changer

We need to have that whitespace, but for me one of the hard parts has been to actually have the discipline to switch off in those times, so that my brain can relax and those ideas can flow through.

When I'm working all the time, it’s like an adrenaline rush. I can get on this roll with business, I can happily work for hours, and look up at the clock and it feels like 10 minutes is gone because I'm right in flow. I don't want to stop. But I know if I do that day after day, week, after week, I’m going to burn out.

And here’s what changed the game for me.

Before this game changer, I was having time off and I was creating white space, but I was still wracked by guilt. I felt like I was letting my team down, or that my team would hate me if they were working.

So I had to set expectations with them, and I had to set expectations with my customers as well. It's exhausting to receive messages at night or on weekends, so what I have found is that I have to actually switch off so that I can be at my best.

Last year when I decided that from Thursday through Sunday I wouldn’t be working, I started switching off my phone. I didn't want to see messages come through, calls, social media pings - anything like that. What I found though, was that I kept missing all of these things that I DID want in my life. Friends. Long lunches. Kids stuff. Life. 

So the thing that changed the game for me and boundaries - is a second phone.

My ‘bat-phone’ is the simplest solution that has made one of the biggest differences in my entire business. For an extra $100 a month for a second plan, I have a private phone number that I only give to personal people in my life - like my kids, their parents, my friends and family. I have my bat-phone with me all the time so that I can switch off my work phone (and my work brain).

I’ve found a way for this to work for me with my addictive tendencies that - if I want to pick up my phone, I can do it without getting sucked out of my precious white space. The only way I could do it is to not look to not have access to it - like  if I’m trying to eat well, and there's a beautiful chocolate brownie in the fridge. It's not gonna happen.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Go buy that second phone and find how you can get those beautiful boundaries to work for you.

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