One thing I knew that I wanted to do in 2022 was to establish a solid work-life balance. This meant choosing personal experiences over work experiences while maintaining and reaching my goals and serving my clients well. Since the beginning of this year, I have implemented 6 things to maintain this work-life balance through the first quarter of this year. Today, I’m sharing those 6 things, how they impacted the Q1 of 2022, and how you can implement them into your business.
Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.
Six Ways I Found A Better Work – Life Balance This Year
Now, I know there are quite a bit of people who don’t believe in ‘work/life balance.’ They’ll call it something else because balance doesn’t always mean an equal distribution of time. But today I will be referring to this concept of work/life balance because I believe in finding a balance that works for you and your business.
Shifting My Mindset
The first thing I had to do to find my own work/life balance was shifting my mindset. I had to get it out of my head that since I was full time in my own business that I needed to answer every e-mail immediately, jump into hustle mode anytime necessary, and that it was possible to turn off my business brain. I think that I even struggled with this before owning my own business. When I worked in the corporate world, I would work overtime without compensation, answer e-mails at night, and brainstorm ideas over the weekend.
This isn’t just a problem for entrepreneurs, but it definitely heightened when all of the responsibilities fell on me. So, to find balance I began to shift this mindset at the beginning of this year. There are a few principles I instilled to be sure of this.
- When the work day was over, I turned off my work brain.
- I don’t have to respond to inquiries during my off time.
- I don’t have to drop everything when someone reaches out to me if I’m in the middle of working on something else.
- My business is still operational when I’m not business Haylee 24/7. I can be business Haylee for 40 hours a week and then personal Haylee the rest of the time.
Reclaiming My Time
When I began to shift my mindset I came upon the second thing I created for myself to create balance. I started to be intentional about reclaiming my time. This one was particularly hard because it opened a lot of doors that made me realize there were a lot of mistakes that I was making in my business. My mistakes were setting my clients for failure. On top of that, I was retroactively setting myself up for failure.
One of the biggest rules I have implemented in reclaiming my time is deadlines for my clients. In the past, I never really required them. If you were submitting your podcast the day it was supposed to go live, I was busting my butt to get it up in time. This is not a huge deal when I only had one client. But now, with multiple clients, things get hairy. I could be up all night working up on them. Now, this was not my client’s fault. It was 100% mine! Without expectations set in place, my clients believed that it was no big deal.
Now, I push due dates for my clients to a week before they go live. I keep in touch and follow up on the morning of the due date to hold them accountable, and I implement late fees as needed. Thankfully, I have not had to use these fees. But this idea of deadlines is helping my clients and me get on top of our schedules.
After implementing this rules, I have consistently freed up my Fridays. I’m not pushing everything to the end of the week anymore because of delays or last minute episodes. My clients have been so considerate of this rule and have even worked batching into their own schedules. Fridays are now either my personal day or a day to work on my own business.
In addition to this, I have also reclaimed my time by dedicating two days for calls. On Mondays and Thursdays, with the occasional exception, I’m taking calls. Having these two designated days allows me when to get ready for video calls and allows me to not have to interrupt my workflow with a call. With these two days designated for calls and Tuesday and Wednesdays for editing, I have even more time reclaimed. Mondays can be my light work days when I can also accomplish other personal errands. I now have the freedom to allow for these kinds of things.
I have definitely not perfected this system yet. It’s a learning process, but reclaiming my time and setting my own schedule has been so beneficial.
Boundaries In Other Areas of My Business
Another step to creating work/life balance is setting boundaries with my current and potential clients. I deleted Slack off of my phone, I can distance myself from new notifications when I’m not in work mode. I moved 85% of my communication to e-mail and out of dm’s and texts. I implemented payment due dates, and so much more. On top of all of thins, I have began to communicate my expectations and guidelines to new and potential clients from the first e-mail. I am setting up my boundaries and expectations from the start so there is not miscommunication.
All of these minor things to set boundaries add up and better establish that work/life balance I’m looking for. I think business owners should do these things generally. Last year I was operating in a way that wasn’t far off from this But these slight tweaks allowed me to ease my mind when I shut my brain off at the end of a work day. I don’t have to feel guilty if I expire a proposal that hasn’t been answered, and other things I should definitely not feel guilty about. I know that the boundaries were already communicated and set in place.
Working Batching And Repurposing in My Content Strategy
Creating content is sooo time consuming. It can take up so much of your time if you let it. But batching and repurposing have been such a major help in cutting down this time.
Now, I’m definitely not the master of either of these concepts. I’ve mentioned this before, but I still struggle with sticking with my own batching schedule. But, I have found so many benefits when I actually do it.
Each week I am pushing out a podcast, a blog post, a newsletter, and social media content on Instagram, Linkedin, and Pinterest. at the beginning of Q1 this year, I made some major changes. I planned out the blog and podcast topics for the entire quarter. Then I go in on a monthly basis and finalize. Now, 52 episodes and 52 blog posts a year is a ton of content. Then, add in daily social media posting. Whew.
For my episodes, I began to repurpose different things for them. I created a condensed version of educational talks that I offer, I have expanded on blog posts, and I have also found ways to revisit old episode topics with a new spin.
Then, on social media I attempted to post every day on Instagram. The content for February and March content was planned a full month head of time. I had a whole month of content scheduled and ready to go before the month even began. continuing this particular principle might not be a crucial part of my plan going forward. Batching drafted content has been helpful but not necessarily pushing out a static post every single day. This is because I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see. Possibly, this was because I wasn’t posting reels which Instagram is currently heavily pushing.
With all of that being said, I will be taking batching more seriously this quarter I will begin batching reels and podcast episodes better. This is mainly to give myself and my team more flexibility. My podcast editor and my copywriter should also be able to feel some flexibility.
When I provide the content ahead of time, they are able to choose the pace and timing at which they get things done. With assignments provided ahead of time, they can work early or late. Life happens and batching gives more room to account for it happening. No matter what happens, things are still going to get released.
Fifty percent of my current content and content marketing is handled by my team. Now, I am also to allow a growing number of my clients to be supported by my team as well. To be transparent, I do not edit my own show or write my blog posts. My editor and copywriter do a great job of taking care of those things for me. But, I am batching and planning ahead of time for all of them.
In this stage of my business, I am focused on providing a great service for my clients and big picture products for my business. All of the things that I am creating to grow my business is my main focus right now.
Saying No To Things That Don’t Align With Goals
My final way of finding a better work/life balance in 2022 is saying no to things that don’t move the needle forward in my business. I get shiny object syndrome so easily! Hearing what someone else is doing in their business, or ways they are planning to go viral, or the program they are creating, or even testing out new strategies makes me want to jump right in with them.
So in Q1 I set 4 major goals for my business:
- Add a new shop product
- Grow my team
- Land 2 new clients
- Start work on the coneptualizing phase of a new program
By the end of this quarter I was able to add a shop product: Podcast E-mail Rejection Templates. I stated the creation of two other products, but ultimately they didn’t pan out. They didn’t line up with my quarterly goals so I put them on the backburner and say no for the time.
For my team, I was able to bring on 2 new team members. Both of those members have grown into new responsibilities and expanded my budget. Going forward into the next quarter, I don’t want to add more team members but to instead expand their roles in my company.
To be able to expand those roles I needed more clients. And I was able to land those 2 clients that I wanted! But I have now opened up even more room for more clients. So if you’re interested in working with my team for outsourcing your podcast production, inquire here.
Finally, I wanted to start conceptualizing a new program. So, the concept phase has started for this new program. I am moving forward with this very large project. This undertaking is probably going to be the largest one I have ever done. More details about this exciting project are coming soon!
Had I said yes to every opportunity I saw in this quarter, I would not have been able to accomplish these goals or I would have been working way overtime. By saying no to things that did not push these goals forward I was way more productive. NOw I can reevaluate the things I put on the backburner and assess whether they were just a phase or something I want to address going into Q2.
As we move into Q2, I am excited to continue with these boundaries and guides I have put into place for my business. Now I can create a better and more functional work/life balance. I’m even planning on incorporating my own style of a 2-week sabbatical this quarter.
Let me know how you’re working towards a better/work life balance in your own business. Reach out @hayleegaffin on Instagram!
Catch the Show Notes:
1. Shifting My Mindset (2:22)
2. Reclaiming My Time (3:30)
3. Boundaries In Other Areas of My Business (6:45)
4. Working Batching And Repurposing in My Content Strategy (8:08)
5. Outsourcing (12:05)
6. Saying No To Things That Don’t Align With Goals (13:21)
My Goals to Stay Focused (13:50)
Review the Transcript:
The very first episode I released in 2022 was about how I was making my business work for my life this year. I’m all about setting goals and achieving them, but one thing I knew that I wanted to do differently in 2022 was find a really solid work/life balance which for me, meant choosing personal experiences over working experiences, while still maintaining the revenue goals I set for myself, growing my business, and serving my clients well.
Since then, I’ve implemented a few considerations and rules I guess you could call them to help maintain that priority of a work life balance through Q1 of 2022 and in today’s episode I want to share those and how they impacted my first quarter of the year.a
Before we dive into today’s episode, I want to take a moment to thank you for listening! I know there are tons of podcasts out there that you could listen to and the fact that you’re choosing to listen to mine means the world to me.
If you’re enjoying the weekly content I’m putting out there, will you head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a rating and review? These help potential listeners see the value in the content I’m putting out there and I would truly appreciate it!
Now I know so many people out there don’t believe in work/life balance. They’ll call it something else since balance doesn’t always mean and equal distribution of time, but today I will be referring to this concept as work/life balance because I believe in finding a balance that works for you.
The very first thing that I had to do in my business this year was shift my Mindset.
I had to get it out of my head that because I was full time in my business, I had to answer every email immediately, jump to hustle mode anytime something happened, and that it was possible to turn off your business brain.
I think I struggled with this even in my corporate roles in working overtime without compensation, answering emails at night, and brainstorming ideas over the weekend. This isn’t just a problem that entrepreneurs had, but it heightened when all responsibilities fell on me in my business.
So I shifted the mindset and decided that my end of work days meant work brain off, I didn’t have to respond to inquiries at the dinner table or while I was watching a movie, or even drop everything when someone reached out while I was in the middle of working on a project.
My business is still operational when I’m not business Haylee 24/7. I can be business Haylee for up to 40 hours a week, and personal Haylee the rest of the time.
Along with that mindset shift, came the second consideration I created for myself: reclaiming my time. This one was hard, because I found a lot of mistakes I was making in my own business that set my clients up for failure, but also myself.
One of the biggest rules I had to put in place this year was deadlines for clients, because in the past, I’d never really required them. If you got me your podcast the day before it went live, I was busting my butt to get it out. This isn’t a big deal when it’s just one podcast, but if 3-4 come in the day before, I’m going to be up all night. And this wasn’t my client’s faults. It was mine. I didn’t set expectations.
So I pushed due dates for my clients, follow up the morning of the due date if I don’t have them, and implemented late fees as needed.
Because of this new rule, I’ve allowed myself to consistently free up my Fridays—sometimes I’ll make these a personal day and other times I’ll use them for working on my own business.
In addition to taking Friday’s off, I reserve two days a week for calls, Mondays and Thursdays, with exceptions here and there.
Therefore Tuesdays and Wednesdays are reserved for editing, and if I don’t finish all my client work on those two days, I’ll fo the rest on Thursday mornings.
This means that if I have a light load on Mondays, I get a little more personal time, whether that means a grocery run, meal prepping, or just a slow start to my week, I allow for it.
This system isn’t perfect yet, but I’m definitely getting it there and allowing for my own growth, missteps, and wins during this process.
Another major thing I did was setting boundaries with potential clients and clients. I already mentioned due dates, but I also set boundaries with other parts of my business. I deleted slack off my phone, moved 85% of my communication to email, and started getting stricter about payment due dates and more.
These are just things business owners should do in general. The way I was operating last year wasn’t too far off from this, but just a few slight tweaks did allow for me to ease my mind after I shut my brain down for the day.
Another consideration I implemented into my business was finding a way to work batching and repurposing into my content strategy. Creating content is so time consuming—it can take up so much of your time if you let it, but two things that have really helped me are batching and repurposing. I’m definitely not the master of either of these yet, I know I’ve mentioned I still struggle with sticking to my own batching schedule, but I have found so many benefits to this.
Each week, I’m pushing out a podcast episode on Tuesdays, a blog post on Thursdays, a newsletter (we’re testing out different days of the week currently, and social media content on Instagram, Linkedin, and Pinterest.
So I did make some major changes at the start of Q1. I started planning out my podcast and blog content topics for the quarter, then I finalize it on a monthly basis.
Now, 52 episodes and 52 blog posts a year is a ton of content… so I have help but we’ll get to that in a minute. For my episodes, I did start repurposing different things for them, for example, I created a condensed version of educational talks I offer, I expanded on blog posts I’d written, and I also found ways to revisit old episodes I’d released.
On social media, I tried posting every weekday on Instagram and batched that content out a month ahead of time. I repurposed blog content into social posts to help drive traffic there, shared about podcast episodes, started sharing about my client work, but the downside was that I created that content just to put something out there. I am currently reworking my social media plans for Q2, so we’ll see exactly how that goes and maybe start posting reels again, because that’s literally all I see on my feed.
I’ll also be taking batching more seriously this quarter as I want my team to have the flexibility that I have in my business, but I also want to work far enough ahead that if something were to happen, I’m not missing a week of publishing or releasing valuable content to my audience
Another thing I did in my business to help with the amount of content I was producing was outsourcing. I did a whole episode on this in episode 47, so I highly encourage you to check it out, but 50% of my content and content marketing is handled by team members and a growing percentage of my clients are being supported by my associate producer.
I don’t edit my own show and I don’t write most of my blog posts—even some of my sales and landing pages are being handled by someone else now, because in this stage of my business I’m focused on providing great service to my clients while also focusing on big picture projects in my business.
Speaking of which, that brings me to my sixth and final way to creating a better work life balance in 2022, and that was saying no to things that didn’t move the needle forward in my business. I don’t know about you, but I get shiny object syndrome so easily. I hear what someone else is doing in their business or how someone is going viral on tiktok, or even how someone is testing out a new ad strategy and I’m jumping on it. In Q1, I set 3 big goals. One was to add a new shop product, two was to grow my team, three was to land two new clients, and four was to start work on the concepting phase of my new program (details coming soon).
I had to say no to SOOOO many things in order to focus on those goals. And guess what!? I was able to accomplish all of them.
I did have a few goals I added that will fall into Q2, but when it came down to it, if a cool idea didn’t support my Q1 goals, I said no to them and put them on a backburner list. I know that if I went for every single idea, I’d either be working all the time, which interferes with that work/life balance, or I wouldn’t accomplish any goals I set for myself. One thing I found so valuable about this is that now that we’re into Q2, I’m able to look at that list with a fresh perspective to determine if it can become a Q2 goal OR if it was a phase or just the allure of that shiny object syndrome.
As we kick off Q2, I’m excited to continue with these boundaries, rules, and considerations to helping me create a better work/life balance. I’m even planning my own style of a 2 week sabbatical this quarter. It’s a hybrid of a personal vacation and working retreat with my mastermind. If you’re curious about how I plan for it and how it goes and want me to share about it on the podcast, let me know and I’ll work it into my content!
I’d love to know how you’re creating a better work/life balance as well for yourself this year, whether you’re in a corporate position, you’re building your own business, or you’re trying to find a balance in any other parts of your life.
Come connect with me over on Instagram at hayleegaffin.