How 'Office Hours' Are Changing My Life

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For the last 15 years I have been treating my time like it's an all-you-can-eat buffet and everyone is invited. 

Want to run a new business idea by me? Sure!

What to vent about your recently failed relationship? How can I help!

Need a ride to the airport at 10:30pm? I'm your girl! 

It wasn't until I started my business that I realized that my time is the single most valuable thing that I have. 

Taking an impromptu coffee meeting at 1pm on a Monday seems harmless until I try to get back to work afterwards. I get back to my desk or my email or whatever project I'm working on feeling stagnant and discombobulated. Kind of like trying to drive a car that won't stop stalling out. Start-stop-start-stop.

Here's the thing. I love to say 'yes'. 

Saying 'yes' to people and opportunities that I care about isn't something I am willing to give up. 

It got to the point, however, where I was running myself ragged. I didn't have anything left to give my business or my self. In saying 'yes' to everyone else, I was unconsciously saying 'no' to my life and work. 

This is when my husband suggested that I try setting weekly 'office hours' for myself. 

I tried it for a month and I can safely say that it's one of the best things I've done for my sanity. 

I wasn't ready to completely shut off my week so I started with 3 hours in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

When someone would ask me to meet up or hang out or pick my brain, I would open up those times to them. If it didn't work with their schedule, I suggested trying for the following week. It was hard and sometimes I forgot and bent myself over backwards again. Then it would feel bad and I would start again. 

I have now narrowed it down to 3 hours in the afternoon on Thursdays and my productivity is off the charts. Plus, I still get to say 'yes' to people, just on my own terms. I am operating from a place of abundance, not scarcity. 

Here are some tips for putting your own 'Office Hours' in place:

  • Be realistic about how much time you're willing to give away
  • Don't set 'Office Hours' on Mondays - trust me, it throws the whole week off
  • People won't like it at first, that's ok. Stay strong!
  • Experiment with a few days and times to find what feels right for you. Thursdays from 1:30 - 4 work for me but that might not work for you
  • Use a scheduler if you want t keep things simple. Google has one directly in the Calendar (you can set 'appointment' times that people can sign up for). I also use Acuity on my website. 
  • If you decide to take a meeting outside of office hours, make sure it's something you feel good about committing to. Don't bend over backwards, if you decide to break your rules make sure it's coming from a place of empowerment

Try it out and let me know how it feels to have control of your time!