31. Too Busy for Self-Care: Boundaries and Calendars Coaching with a Busy Working Woman

calendar coaching

With so much focus on self care recently, how do people actually find time for self care? With everything we have to do on a day to day basis, how do we fit self care into our already busy, overwhelming schedules? Well today Mary gives you the secret to make sure self care gets into your daily routine.

Mary talks to her friend Erin today about her role as a busy working mom. Mary talks Erin through her busy schedule and the best way to go from overwhelmed and exhausted, to a woman who loves her calendar and uses it as a tool to build confidence. To get results in her business, to connect with the people she loves, and to practice self-care all at the same time.

Main Episode Takeaways

  • You get to decide what gets scheduled on your calendar
  • How to start setting up your calendar for success
  • Go from a busy stance to an empowered stance with our calendars
  • Using your calendar as a tool to build confidence

Want to learn more about boundaries?

– Join my free workshop “Overcome Busyness: Real Ways to have Business Success and Self-Care by Learning to Boundaries with your Calendar.” on Wednesday June 7th.
– Boundaries quiz HERE
Take my Boundaries 101 Course
– Do you want to overcome your hurdles of people pleasing? Book a free call with Mary!

31. Too Busy for Self-Care: Boundaries and Calendars Coaching with a Busy Working Woman

Mary: Let’s talk boundaries. I’m here with the amazing Erin Waynick and we are gonna discuss boundaries with you today. Erin is a friend of mine. She lives in northern Colorado with me, and she is a photographer that I trust with my own business photos and family photos. She took pictures of my senior, his senior portraits and she’s done several of my head shots and came to a retreat with me to do photography. So I totally trust her as a photographer, if you’re local and looking for a photographer, I recommend her to you. Erin’s also a working mom, so she’s a full-time photographer and a mom to a 15 year old kiddo. And we’re gonna talk about work life boundaries and busyness today. Busy, busy, busy. Tell us what you like to do for fun, first of all. 

Erin: Well, thank you for having me on here. Super fun. I love hanging out with my friends. I’m very social which is also a reason why I need boundaries. I love shopping secondhand and also selling online. That’s another. And doing crafty stuff and walking my beautiful Husky around and just hanging out with my daughter and stuff. 

Mary: Awesome. 

Erin: All kinds of things.

Mary: Awesome, awesome. All right, so let’s talk about busyness.

Erin: I am Busy. 

Mary: You are busy. What does that mean? 

Erin: Yeah. I, so I just moved into my new apartment. I’ve been there for about three weeks and I can almost count the amount of hours I’ve spent there because I’m always out doing things, photo shoots, and then editing. Yeah, just social life and being a mom and I almost have too much going on outside of my business to really be able to focus on my business and then be able to focus on like the foundation of my life. Does that make sense at all? 

Mary: Yes, for sure. I hear this often. Busy working women. That’s what we are. Right? And so we’re kind of balancing our personal lives and our work lives and our family lives. Our social lives. 

Erin: Oh and dog life. I think the, the dog really threw, threw a wrench into it too. In that every time that I thought I had, now we have to go on walks, which I enjoy, but it’s a lot.

Mary: Mm-hmm. Yes. Throw a puppy in the mix. That’ll be fun.

Erin: Yeah. Smart. Good job, Erin.

Mary: Yeah. So what’s the hardest part about being busy? 

Erin: I don’t take care of myself. I was just talking with my office mate who was heading to the gym and I was just thinking like, I really need to do something like that. Even just stop, take a breath or just, I don’t know, do some stretches, do something. And I was like, I just can’t, like I’m, my brain’s not there cause there’s so many other things I have to do. And I was like, I feel like I’m almost to the point where I can start taking care of myself. Hmm. But I’m not there yet. 

Mary: Hmm. What would you need to do to get to the point where you could start taking care of yourself?

Erin: Have some free space in my brain.

Mary: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the problem with being too busy. Right? We don’t take care of ourselves. We don’t have any free space in our brain. How does it feel?

Erin: So overwhelming. And yeah, confining. 

Mary: Exhausting. 

Erin: Exhausting. Yeah. 

Mary: Mm-hmm. And so when someone says something like, well, really what you just need is self-care, then what do you think?

Erin: I’m like, oh, that’s sweet.

Mary: You know what I think of when I hear, did you ever see that video with this woman called Sweet Brown? And she says, ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Erin: Oh yeah. I say that in my head. I ain’t got time for that. Nobody got time for that. 

Mary: Well, must be nice all you self-care people. Going to the gym in the middle of the day, who’s got time for that?

Erin: I don’t know. Obviously my office mate who runs her own business and has two toddlers and you know. So that girl’s like driven. 

Mary: She must have more time than we do. 

Erin: Yeah. No, she just, yeah, she’s a badass.

Mary: All right, so let’s talk a little bit about why you wanna have some boundaries around your time and your calendar. 

Erin: I just, I want honestly to have a little more structure, which talked to my career coach about, and I don’t necessarily do well with structure. I’m a very in the flow type of person, but I need some type of structure to ground me and, but I’m always so busy. I’m like, eh, I’ll get to that later. 

Mary: Well, here’s what I know for sure. Okay. When we have a very busy schedule and a very busy life, both in our calendars and in our brains, and then we try to put self-care on top of it. Guess what? 

Erin: It doesn’t happen. 

Mary: There’s no room. 

Erin: Mm-hmm. No, it just falls right off the top.

Mary: Right. So if we’re trying to fit self-care in around our busy lives, yeah. It won’t fit. 

Erin: That was a good way to explain it. 

Mary: Yeah. It won’t fit, it doesn’t like pour into the cracks. The only way to actually have self-care is to schedule it first. 

Erin: Yeah. I’ve heard of people doing that. 

Mary: You’ve heard of people doing that? 

Erin: Yeah. 

Mary: Are they in my coaching program?

Erin: Yes. 

Mary: Where did you hear that? 

Erin: I think it’s from you.

Mary: Okay. So let’s start with this. When do you wanna sleep?

Erin: Like 10 at night to about seven 30 or eight. 

Mary: Okay. 10 o’clock at night to seven 30 or eight? Mm-hmm. Okay. And how full or structured do you want your calendar to be, like when you’re functioning as your best self, how full or structured or relaxed or flexible works best for you? 

Erin: It has to be kind of in the middle because I get scheduled for photo shoots in short timeframes, so I have to have openings in my schedule. So if real estate agent needs, there’s a lot of times they need it like tomorrow or so I have to try and make that happen, which is part of my job. I mean, I chose that. 

Mary: So how much time or flexibility do you need to have open in case someone wants like a same day or, 

Erin: At least like a few chunks midday. 

Mary: Okay. So would you say half of your time scheduled and half of your time unscheduled? 

Erin: Probably yeah. That sounds good. 

Mary: So are you working eight hours a day? 

Erin: Mm. Sometimes less. Sometimes more. 

Mary: Okay. So if you had like four hours of scheduled time and four hours of flex time, would that feel about right to you or something else?

Erin: Yeah, I think that would feel right. 

Mary: Okay. And would, when would you want your scheduled time to be in? When would you want your flexible time to be? 

Erin: Pretty much like a normal work day. Eight 30 to three. Yeah. And then I like having my evenings free. 

Mary: Okay. So when would your scheduled hours be? 

Erin: Eight 30 to three. 

Mary: Eight 30 to three. And then if you had the same day schedule, like a same day appointment next day appointment, when would you do that?

Erin: Yeah, nevermind. I like get what you’re doing now. Yeah. So 

Mary: Is your workday eight 30 to three? 

Erin: Pretty much. 

Mary: Pretty much. Okay. 

Erin: Half of that to be, like at least a few days a week. Half of that work time to be open. 

Mary: Okay. Mm-hmm. So every day or 

Erin: Like three days a week. 

Mary: Okay. So eight 30 to three. Do you work eight 30 to three every day? 

Erin: No. Mm-hmm. Because it all just depends on what’s on my schedule. 

Mary: Oh, but you’re in charge of your schedule now?

Erin: Yeah, I’m in charge of my schedule.

Mary: That’s right. you get to decide. Okay. So what do you want your working hours to be? 

Erin: Eight 30 to three. 

Mary: Okay. And which of those hours do you want to be structured and which of those hours do you want to be flexible? 

Erin: I want the morning to be structured.

Mary: Okay. And when’s flexible?

Erin: 1230 to three. 

Mary: Oh, this is great. So eight 30 to 1230. You’ve got four hours of structured time. Yeah? Okay. And then every afternoon, 1230 to three is flexible. So if someone needed or wanted to schedule with you kind of same day or next day, or like a two-day turnaround, you’ve got afternoon availability. Okay. And who gets to make your appointments or your calendar?

Erin: I do. 

Mary: You do. Okay. 

Erin: I dunno. 

Mary: Do you hesitate there? What are you laughing about? 

Erin: I dunno. Cause I feel like I do, but I think a lot of times people just say, Hey, I need you to do this at this time. I say, okay. 

Mary: Oh. Mm-hmm. Well, what if you get to decide how you spend your time?

Erin: I like that better.

Mary: All of the time. Mm-hmm. And what if you had all of the time that you needed? 

Erin: Mm-hmm. That would be cool.

Mary: Mm-hmm. Yeah. What if you got to choose how you spended your time for reasons that you like? Not because somebody else needed you. 

Erin: Yes, that’s a whole like, which I’m sure you know this whole brain shift. 

Mary: Yeah. That’s what we’re doing here. Yeah. It’s brain shifting. 

Erin: Yeah. I like it.

Mary: My specialty.

Erin: Is that what you do?

Mary: Yeah. So what would be different? Yeah. 

Erin: So I would, have some structure and make the choices. 

Mary: What kinds of things would you do in the morning from eight 30 to 1230? 

Erin: I would walk my dog. Which is also exercise. Editing. I would do my editing. And then yeah, just errands and taking care of business stuff. 

Mary: Okay. Sounds good.

Erin: I was just also thinking like if I have a coffee with someone, then I would schedule it during that time. I would think that way I could always have that last chunk for clients.

Mary: Sounds good. Mm-hmm. And then what if your last chunk doesn’t get scheduled? What would you do with that time? 

Erin: I have plenty to do. 

Mary: Oh, you have plenty to do. There you go. Awesome. So I wanna invite you just to try something on with me. Okay. The first thing is that you get to make the decisions about your calendar. Do you have any contracts that say, I must go same day if they call me? 

Erin: No. 

Mary: No. Do you have any contracts that say, I must cancel what I’m already scheduled to meet your needs? 

Erin: No. 

Mary: No. When do you make decisions about your calendar? 

Erin: When a job comes in and I put it on my calendar. Because really my calendar stays pretty open. And then it starts filling up on Monday. And then like, it just built, I mean, it’s awesome. I’m working, but you know, like appointments, social gatherings, clients and so then I’m just bidding everything that I need to do, like edits and spending time with my daughter, spending time with my, you know, doing things I need to do. I just try and fit it in those random places. 

Mary: Does it fit? 

Erin: Not always.

Mary: Hmm. No. Mm-hmm. No. So what if you chose one day and made an appointment to make your calendar decisions for the week? I do mine at Monday mornings. And if somebody’s like, Hey, I wanna get together and talk about work stuff with you, I call them on Monday morning and I say, Hey, I’m making my calendar for the week. Can we get something scheduled? This is my availability. Or what I actually do is make a big, long to-do list of everything I wanna accomplish that week.

Erin: That sounds better for me to like make a big to-do list and then put it in because I don’t know what’s gonna be coming that week. So that makes sense. 

Mary: So you make a big, long to-do list. Personal things, work things, social things, family things, all the things. You know what your working hours are, you know what your sleeping hours are, you know what your personal time is. Make a big, long to-do list. And then what? Then this is a trick question actually.

Erin: And then make my schedule right?

Mary: Then you schedule your self-care first. 

Erin: Oh. It was a trick question. I was wondering when you were getting to that. Okay. Yeah. 

Mary: You make your big long to-do list and then you schedule your self-care first before you actually schedule your to-do list. You have to schedule your self-care first. So what would self-care look like for you?

Erin: That’s what I was just wondering. I really wanna do more yoga. I mean, I don’t really want to, I don’t really have a space for it in my tiny place right now. But, Just like a meditation, something to calm my mind attitude, things that I’ve done in the past, sporadically that I’ve noticed huge changes when I do it. 

Mary: When would you wanna do that? 

Erin: In the morning.

Mary: Before eight 30? 

Erin: No. No. Definitely no, nothing happens before 8:30.

Mary: Okay. What time would you wanna do your morning meditation gratitudes? I call it my morning devotions. 

Erin: Mm-hmm. Yeah, like right when I wake up, instead of getting on my phone before I let the dog in to my room.

Mary: Oh. I have a rule with myself. I don’t check my phone until after my morning meditations.

Erin: Okay. Okay. It’s a big one. 

Mary: It is a big one because sometimes you know what my brain says? Well, how do you know what time it is?

Erin: I know totally, but I did buy a clock and it’s just sitting there without a battery on it, and maybe we’ll put it on my wall. Maybe that would be the first thing to schedule. 

Mary: I put the clock in my bathroom, like above the mirror, so when I’m getting ready, I can see what time it is, and then in the morning when I wake up, I have this urge to check my phone and see what time it is and if I missed any text messages or anything. Which, if I check my phone just to see what time it is, it ends up being text messages, emails, Facebook, the whole thing. And it’s an hour later. So I won’t do that. What I do is I put my phone far away so I can’t reach it, and I get up and go to the bathroom to empty my bladder in the morning, and then I see what time it is. Or I set an alarm on my phone that’s far away from me that says, this is the time you agreed to wake up. 

Erin: Yeah, I have a hard time with that one too. I’m a snoozer. 

Mary: Snoozing is okay, but it’s optional. That’s your decision too. right. Okay, so when are you gonna do this morning devotion time? 

Erin: When I wake up before I look at my phone,

Mary: That’s just what I do. You get to decide what’s best for you. 

Erin: Yeah. Well, and that’s hard cuz my meditation stuff is on my phone. 

Mary: Oh. 

Erin: But I mean, I have books.

Mary: Do you have to get out of the bed to do meditation? 

Erin: no. 

Mary: Oh, okay. 

Erin: Well I mean I can, better if I do, then fall back to sleep.

Mary: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay. So when is your self-care time? 

Erin: When I wake up, so from, let’s move it up, move it to eight, eight to eight 30. 

Mary: Eight to eight 30. The self-care? Mm-hmm. Okay. And then what? Eight 30 to three is work? 

Erin: Yeah, so if I have my typical, it’s the week I have my daughter. Then it’s getting her to school, and then my day will start. If it’s not, then I’ll get myself ready. Take the dog on a walk and then start my day. 

Mary: Okay. Awesome. That feels good. 

Erin: Mm-hmm. Yeah. 

Mary: Awesome. Okay. So schedule your self-care first. Then you have times available for afternoon photo shoots every day, if they’re available, you could do a photo shoot every single day if they’re available. And if someone says, Hey, Erin, I wanna schedule a photo shoot with you. You’re like, awesome. I have availability from 1230 to three. Does that work for you? I usually do my photo shoots in the afternoons. These are the afternoons that I’m open this week. How’s that sound? 

Erin: That sounds like I’m a professional. 

Mary: You are a professional.

Erin: They say if you act harder to get, you’ll get more clients.

Mary: Okay. So then after you schedule your self-care, the next thing you schedule are the appointments that happen at specific times. So things like driving a kiddo to school, a networking meeting, doctor’s appointment if you have any ongoing things, right? Okay after that, you go back to your to-do list, and guess what you do with it?

Erin: You get rid of it. Kidding.

Mary: You do! Really. You look at your list and you decide like, are these things that I’m gonna do or do I delegate it or do I ditch it? 

Erin: That’s right. Okay. Right. 

Mary: Ditch it? Do it? Delegate it? Yeah. And then for the ones that you decide to keep, you give yourself a specific amount of time to get it done. So for example, you said editing is something that you like to do? 

Erin: Yeah. 

Mary: Do you have to do it or do you wanna do it? 

Erin: I mean, I wanna do it cuz it’s my job. 

Mary: Okay. Well, I don’t do anything that I don’t wanna do anymore. I don’t do things because I have to, if I can’t find a reason why I want to, then I’m not gonna do it.

Erin: Yeah, no, I like that. 

Mary: Yeah. Because right now I wanna talk to you and record this podcast. Because I think that listeners will also benefit from our conversation. 

Erin: Yes. So I want to edit. 

Mary: You want to edit? Okay. So how long does it take you to edit? Because I’ve heard that one can be time consuming.

Erin: Yeah. It depends on the photo shoot. Whether it’s a house or portraits, how big the house is. So One job can be 30 minutes to two hours.

Mary: So how much time would you allow yourself if you were gonna make an appointment to get that editing done? 

Erin: Two to three hours if I have it.

Mary: Well, you, you have it. You have all the time you need, remember. 

Erin: Yeah, I have all the time I need. 

Mary: Yeah. So how much time do you want to give yourself to accomplish that task? 

Erin: Three hours.

Mary: Okay. So three hours of editing every day or how often? 

Erin: Oh no, like three days a week.

Mary: Three days a week. Which days?

Erin: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Mary: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you’re gonna edit for three hours?

Erin: Mm. Hopefully. Cause I’ll have that many jobs. 

Mary: Of course you are. Mm-hmm.

Erin: But honestly, I mean, two hours. 

Mary: Two hours is enough time to get the project done? 

Erin: Yeah. Yeah, I’m gonna have to really noodle on that one cause it’s so different every day. It depends on how many jobs I had the day before. I try to do a 24 hour turnover. 

Mary: Mm. 

Erin: It’s also something that I’ve thought about. I could be really good at bringing my charger, my computer with me. I can upload the photos after the shoot. Mm. Now it save me time and have it going through the program while I’m driving around. 

Mary: There you go. I love the little trick for efficiency. 

Erin: Yeah, I thought about that today. 

Mary: Okay. All right. 

Erin: Then the editing time would go down.

Mary: Awesome. Plan for that for sure. How can you remember to bring the equipment with you so you can do it that way? 

Erin: Just always have my computer bag, not just my camera.

Mary: Awesome. Computer and camera. They go together. There you go. All right, so then you’ve got this task list, right? You decide, do I wanna do it? Can I delegate it or can I ditch it? Then you give yourself specific amount of time for each of those tasks. And here’s, you might have to have some negotiations for yourself. Because guess what? You might have more tasks to do than you have hours on your calendar. That’s a problem that most of us have, especially busy working women. So what do we do when that happens?

Erin: Nope, I’m not gonna say it. Take it out of self-care time. 

Mary: No, we don’t take it away from self-care time.

Erin: I know it’s automatic though. This is what I’m learning. Just add it to the next day? 

Mary: That’s when your boundary decision comes in. Then we ask ourself if I say yes to this, what might we say no to? If I say no to this, what might I be saying yes to? And then we make decisions for the reasons that we like. It’s like when you go to look at your budget and you’re like, you know, what I really wanna do is go on a vacation. And it’s gonna cost this much for the vacation I wanna go to. And then you look at all the other things that you have to pay for and you have to make a decision. Do I wanna go on vacation or do I want my kid to have braces? No judgment. You do what you wanna do. Do I wanna give my help my kid have braces, or do I wanna have a family vacation? You just get to say yes or no. And make a commitment. 

Erin: And actually think of it as a question instead of, I have to do this, I have to do this, I have to do this.

Mary: That’s right. Mm-hmm. Lots and lots of options in here. Because we’re moving from a busy stance to an empowered stance. When it comes to our calendars. Okay? So then you schedule, give yourself permission to make all your calendar decisions during that time. And then you schedule the appointments with yourself. Then you get to throw away your to-do list, cuz it’s already on your calendar. You don’t have any reason to have a to-do list when you’ve already made commitments with yourself. So then guess what will happen? On Monday morning you thought you wanted to finish editing on Wednesday morning and you put that appointment on your calendar and then it comes time for Wednesday morning, and guess what? You don’t wanna do it. Right? And so, you know what I tell myself? I love you so much. You have self-care this morning. You have self-care again tomorrow morning. Now it’s time for you to make the appointment and keep the appointment that you set with yourself. Because the way that I build confidence is by making and keeping appointments with myself.

Erin: Yes. Okay. That was the missing piece for me. Because I can write down anything on my calendar, but I’m, I’m the one in charge, so I just say no. Or wanna do something else, that’s where the chaos comes in. But that’s, that’s huge. Right. You know, adding that self-care element, being kind to myself. 

Mary: Yes. 

Erin: Help me get through those rough patches.

Mary: Right. And you’re gonna feel a little bit resistance and that’s okay. It’s to be expected. It is. Nothing’s going wrong. It doesn’t mean you need more self care. It doesn’t mean you weren’t really supposed to do it anyways. Because when you made your calendar and you were thinking out of all of the good parts of your brain and you were focused, then you made a commitment to yourself that you were gonna finish your editing on Wednesday. And so you put it on your calendar like, this is the result that I’m going to achieve during this time block. And then guess what? You build your confidence as you keep the appointments that you make for yourself. And you don’t have to worry about self-care cuz you know when you’re gonna do it. So you can’t burn out. 

Erin: That’s awesome. I think I could really do this. 

Mary: I think you can too. It’s totally possible. That’s my message. That it’s totally possible. Yeah. It’s possible to go from a busy working woman to a woman who loves her calendar and uses it as a, as a tool to build confidence. To get results in her business, to connect with the people she loves, and to practice self-care all at the same time. Mm-hmm. All right, let’s wrap up here. What’d you learn today? 

Erin: That it’s totally possible to do this, making the decisions based on if I do this, what am I not gonna be able to do, and vice versa. And then also really doing the self-care so I can do the hard things and balance that hard part out. 

Mary: Mm-hmm. Those are huge. Yes. You can totally do it. Yeah. Erin, I have an invitation for you. Hey, did you know that I have a community of women that are learning how to do this with their calendars together?

Erin: Yes. 

Mary: And I wanna invite you to join us cuz it takes some practice. 

Erin: Yeah, yeah. I would love to do that. 

Mary: Awesome. All right. 

Erin: Thank you, Mary. I love you. 

Mary: Yeah, I love you too. I’ll see you later. Good work today, Erin. 

Erin: Okay. All. Thank you. Yeah.