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“Life Appointments” – How To Step Away From Your Business Without The Entrepreneurial Guilt Factor

Michelle Dale - Friday, June 24, 2011

In 2011 I’ve been considering “work-life balance” a lot more often. I wrote a post earlier this year about how I have more than halved the hours I spend in my virtual assistance business by basically restructuring my team, and since then my hours have continued to reduce. It was the single best decision in my business which I have ever made, that has had the most positive impact on my life. When I was considering how I was doing it, yes I was hiring more people, and shifting roles to help me in my business, but what really made a difference more than anything else was my own self-discipline and actually ‘scheduling in my life’ into my day, with what I call “Life Appointments,” instead of letting my personal life slip by as an afterthought.

How It All Started…

So, what do I mean by this? Let’s go back a few years, I was young, ambitious, hot headed, stubborn and a really hard worker – I’m sure many of you can relate to this. When I started VMF Ltd which was at zero back then, I never anticipated that it could turn into what it has, because at the time, I needed to simply replace the salary I was earning when I had a normal job. But once I got to the point where I replaced my salary, I wanted to push a bit further and see where I could go, and I pushed and I pushed, again and again,  and I worked harder than I ever had in my lifetime, 6am starts, 3am finishes, caffeine was my best friend, I have been there and bought the T-Shirt, so to speak.

The Realisation…

It didn’t dawn on me until recently that when I was working so many hours, my own life really didn’t get a look in, I was simply scheduling every spare moment I had when I wasn’t eating or sleeping to work. After all, I am an entrepreneur, and I really love my work, but let’s face it, it’s still work… And that doesn’t replace your life, time with your kids, friends and family – or even just being with yourself.

The Change…

The more I got into being a digital nomad, having my kids, needing to devote more of my time to my family, I found myself becoming increasingly anxious wondering where I would find the “extra” time, that’s when I thought… “Well duh! Michelle, there is no extra time, there are 24 little hours in a day and you have to deal with it and make them work for you.” That’s when it dawned on me I needed to start making appointments with my life, scheduling my life into my day, and to be honest, I am far more productive when I do something different for a few hours, while I am on these “Life Appointments,” and then come back to work, rather than sitting there for hours on end ploughing through, slowing down the pace and then eventually flaking out.

Treat Your Life With Importance

Making appointments with your life, doesn’t mean taking time OUT of your day, it means incorporating life IN to your day. Planning and scheduling whatever makes you happy into your calendar, and treating these appointments with the same importance as you would be treating work appointments, daily tasks or business meetings.

If this concept is all new to you, and slightly nerve racking, start small, with 1 or 2 hours here and there throughout the week — of course this works best if you’re self-employed, heck you’re the boss, cut yourself some slack, go do something with your kids, go for lunch with a friend, book in a random beauty treatment, take up a hobby, visit the gym, take a cookery class, just make an appointment with your life, and do something fun, which can also make you more productive when you do revisit your work, and please don’t feel guilty about it.

Don’t feel guilty for going out midday to the cinema to watch a film, you’re on a very important “life appointment,” with yourself.

Entrepreneurial Life Appointments can come in many forms, they will allow you to to view your personal time with the same importance as your entrepreneurial time, and you can find that balance you need, and become more productive, knowing it’s a “win-win situation.”



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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.



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