If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last decade of working for myself and coaching women business owners, it’s this: we are just wired differently.
I’m sure you’ve felt it.
When you’re working a corporate job to pay for your dreams of business ownership.
While standing in line with the other parents at school pickup.
When you talk to your friends who don’t understand why you want to work for yourself.
When you visit family for the holidays and they just worry about your future, instead of cheering you on.
You and me, my friend… we’re just different. And it’s a beautiful thing!
It’s important, too, because without women like us, it’s impossible to make change in this world. That’s exactly what we’re doing — we’re changing the world with our businesses and our hard work.
Of course, it is hard work. A lot of it. And even though I’m here to help you build a thriving business, the truth is that, sometimes, work takes over. That’s why I’ve added on that “and a joy-filled life” part of my manifesto.
Because you’re made for joy, both in life and business! Sometimes, though, we can forget about that “life” part, don’t we?
How can YOU, as someone who is wired to work for herself, to bring big dreams to life, and to serve her customers and clients, show up in your life, too?
What does work-life balance look like for someone like us?
Well, I’ll share what work-life balance looks like for me, and even share some of the tools I’ve used that help me support the kind of life I want to lead.
My calendar is my best friend
I’ve often joked that my calendar is my brain. I don’t just have my coaching calls or team calls in there; I also have my family calendar included. I also use invitations heavily. If there’s something I need to get done, whether at home or at work, I schedule it in and tag anyone else who needs to be involved. Usually, that’s my husband!
That way, everyone is on the same page, I can see what I need to do at a glance, and I always know what’s coming. Well, almost always. 😉
I track my cycle
Let’s be real, ladies. Our monthly cycle can affect the way we feel, think, and react. I’ve found that my cycle is not something to fight — it’s something to embrace. I wouldn’t want to get rid of what makes me such a great business woman, and being a woman is part of that.
So I’ve learned, thanks to my friend Andrea Claassen and the book Do Less by Kate Northrup, how to track and work with my cycle. We each have peaks and valleys of our cycle, or seasons as I like to call them.
When I’m in my summer phase of my cycle, I’m more creative, I have stronger ideas, and my brain just feels “on.” When I’m in winter, that’s my time to just get things done around the house, manage a few tiny things, but I don’t plan to make major progress on anything. I’ve even started shifting our product launches and important marketing initiatives around my cycle.
The result? I can finally lean into when I’m most productive and most myself, instead of working longer and harder hours that take me away from my family and the other things I love. It also makes me feel (quite literally) balanced, because I’m paying attention to my body and my needs.
I have dedicated days for specific work
You may have heard of “batch days” before, but I take a different approach to this idea than most. Instead of batching certain client or customer work on certain days, I choose a focus for the day. For example, I have “No Meeting Mondays” because that’s when I put my head down and do the work. Most of my content creation comes on these days, as does my email and the general admin of owning a business! I also use these Mondays to have a more flexible schedule to take care of things around the house or family to-dos that would have happened on the weekend (if we weren’t off on another camping adventure).
Then I have “Financial Fridays,” where I look at (obviously) the financials of my business. I see what income and expenses I’ve had, what’s going out, and if there’s anything I need to be aware of that should be addressed before I head into the weekend.
Then, my favorite day of the week is “Summer Fridays.” These days are family time and they generally happen in — you guessed it — summer. This is usually when I start prepping for us to leave on our camping trips, and any vacations we have start that day. I try to stay out of the heavier work on these Summer Fridays (including the financials), as I know my focus is best kept on my family and the fun ahead.
Then, my biggest meetings are on Tuesday — or “Team Tuesdays,” as I call them. I have my team calls, coaching calls, and Blooming Business Inner Circle Facebook Lives on these days when I can. It helps me to know that I will need to be engaging with others so I can really bring my best self to the table on these days. I also spend extra time getting “camera ready” to maximize the amount of presence I have these days.
Wednesdays or Thursdays tend to be other coaching calls or 1:1 meeting days, but I do my best to stack them so they aren’t scattered all hours of the day, but side by side with other meetings so I can have larger chunks of time outside of them.
I know what I can commit to the household
Now, for the biggest question I usually get from female business owners who are also in relationships and possibly have kids: “Amber, how do I do everything at work and everything at home?” The answer is: You don’t!
To be honest, I have had to be very realistic with what I can do in a day, and respect that it changes week by week (this is also why I track my cycle!). I know that some weeks, I will have more energy to cook and do things around the house, and others I won’t.
That’s why I meal plan when I can, and when I have the time. I also don’t beat myself up when I have to throw something together or ask my husband to take point on cooking. I also have simplified our grocery store and errand runs — you will not find Amber Housley running all over Timbuktu to get the exact brand of juice or snacks my family wants.
It’s Aldi’s or nothing. (Just kidding, but almost.)
I also have slightly older kiddos who can take on some responsibility around the house. They know how to do laundry, they have even baked their own cookies and grabbed their own snacks while I work or do things around the house.
Pssst...If you're wondering how to get started with chores, or how to work on them as a family, there's a great course from a friend of mine called the Smart Kid's Chore System!
We outsourced our bi-weekly deep cleanings a few years ago and that has been a huge return on investment on my time and also I will admit the team cleans way better than I do! 🙂
I won’t say that all of these things work for you, but maybe they spark an idea in your own life that you can try out. My best advice when it comes to “juggling all the things” at home: ask for help. Don’t do it all yourself, and don’t expect to be able to do it all yourself.
I do the math
Last but definitely not least, I use a sweet, sweet little tool to help prevent overwhelm and guilt that comes with “trying to do it all.” I call it a work-life worksheet, and it’s very simple.
Take out a lined piece of paper, fold in half lengthwise (vertically), and grab a pen. On the left, write “LIFE” and on the right, write “WORK.”
Next, add horizontal lines for each of the 12 months, so you’ve got a grid overview of the full year. Then, I pull out my best friend, the calendar, and I look at what’s coming up in my personal or home life. Do we have a camping trip planned every weekend for the next two months? Do we have any vacations or outings planned? Is there something I have on my calendar just for myself, like a haircut or spa day?
I look at the LIFE stuff first, which is so so so important for people like us. We are wired to work toward our dreams, and sometimes that can lead us to only having work on the horizon. We don’t want that, though, which is why I ask you to look at LIFE first.
What do you have coming up? You don’t have to write down all the specifics, but you do need to at least jot down notes about what you’re doing in a single month. Then, you look at your business. What big projects do you have coming up? Do you big sale, or are you trying to release something new? Do you have a heavy client load in the coming weeks?
I also recommend looking at summer and winter holidays, when we are often our most busy with “life stuff.” Whether you’re taking time off to be with the kids or we need to travel for the winter holidays, that’s where I often see women overbooking and overwhelming themselves.
One last note I’d like to add here: we plan our family trips FIRST, then backfill everything else around that. That's a big part of the balance, and it helps me make mental space for both work and play. I know when I’m focused on life and when I’m focused on work.
Of course, we’re wired to have both blend together, and that’s perfect! I just want you to make sure that you’re at least mixing the two, instead of only focusing on one side of the equation.
Find women who are wired like you
I truly hope this has been helpful for you. I know that I’ve personally been frustrated by the “work-life balance” resources I’ve found out there that are meant for people who work corporate jobs (or want to continue to do so).
I also get frustrated when those resources come from men or from people who don’t have a business, a home, and a family to juggle. Because the truth is: we are women wired to want to do it ourselves.
That’s why we start businesses, that’s why we take on our big, hairy, scary dreams. And that’s a beautiful thing! But it does help to have a reminder from time-to-time that it’s not all about work. Plus, I’m here to give you the frameworks that help you write your own success story!
As I’ve started to build my business, build my community, and really focus on helping women build thriving businesses, I knew that I didn’t want to forget the life side of the equation. So I created a weekly marketing notepad planner, designed to put your top priorities (for business and life) at the forefront.
What’s the Sweet Life Weekly Business Planner?
The Sweet Life Weekly Business Planner is a system for mapping out your weeks without overwhelm. With this gorgeous desktop planner, you can:
🍋 See all your business priorities and important to-do’s at a glance
🍋 Keep your business and life organized on a weekly basis
🍋 Say goodbye to feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and frustrated
🍋 Always remember what to market to your audience and social media
🍋 The strategies and frameworks used on this beautifully designed notepad are pulled straight from my signature Flourish Marketing Plan Workshop Intensive program.
Flourish has helped thousands of business owners just like you create a marketing plan that helps them not only thrive, but see their success stories, dreams, and goals come to life. That’s exactly what you can do with the Sweet Life Weekly Business Planner.
And the best part? It’s free — you just pay shipping.