Running your own business can be tough.

It can take up all your time and have you working 24/7

It can stop you from taking days off, holidays or allowing yourself rest when you are ill.

It can cause stress, fear, burnout, anxiety, procrastination, comparisonitis and imposter syndrome.

It can even make you sick – not just sick of your business but physically ill.

But all of this can only happen if you let it!

If you let it, your business can literally take up all of your thoughts, headspace and time.

BUT

You can also be successful by working three hours a day, taking regular time off and not even being on social media.

It all depends on how you a) set up your business, b) how you want to work and c) who you are listening to.

We are all conditioned to believe that success only comes from hard work.

That we have to be prepared to work 60-hour weeks to get our business off the ground.

And, that we can’t have everything, so success has to come at the expense of something else – like having time to enjoy it.

But, after years of believing this BS, I am here to tell you that you really can have it all and more importantly you can have it on your terms.

Now, I am not going to sit here and say that running a business is easy and that as soon as you set it up everything will fall into your lap because that is crap.

When I set up my first business in 2011 it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I was working every hour I could, doing everything myself and I thought of nothing else.

But looking back now, I realise how much of that was my fault.

I was conditioned to working 9-5 like so many of us (despite me also working Saturdays as I was a football journalist), so I was doing that as well as most evenings and weekends. This was because I felt too guilty to take a break because I thought “it has to be hard at the beginning”

How does the quote go?

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t. So that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

In reality though, I was not very productive most of the time and just sitting at your desk is not working! Just like going to the gym for a coffee is not exercise!! 

I also worried what family and friends would think if I was going here, there and everywhere – I either can’t be working hard or I must be doing really well if I could afford to take time off.

But I wasn’t! The truth was I couldn’t justify going out for a coffee or lunch, or taking time off if I wasn’t a) successful or b) had things I had to do.

There will always be things to do though – just remember though they don’t have to be done right now! That’s why I don’t work from a to-do list anymore – but that is a story for another day.

The day I embraced my inner rebel was the day that everything changed for me.

I worked less, achieved more, started believing in myself and my decisions so stopped seeking external validation, and cut the aimless scrolling and procrastination.

So much of our life is actually in our control, it is just up to us to take that control back and be the boss.

With all that said, here are my 5 tips for taking your control back

1. Understand your soul goal

Why do you do what you do? I don’t mean to earn enough money to pay the bills, I mean that goal that really lights you up, excites you and keeps you focussed and motivated through the tough times.

When you get clear on this all of the decisions you make are with this in mind and trust me when I say it makes saying no so much easier.

2. Get clear on your time

Why do you do what you do? I don’t mean to earn enough money to pay the bills, I mean that goal that really lights you up, excites you and keeps you focussed and motivated through the tough times.

When you get clear on this all of the decisions you make are with this in mind and trust me when I say it makes saying no so much easier.

3. What do you HAVE to do

It’s so easy to busy ourselves with working in the business – the most common time stealer is content creation but you are not a content creator. This is just one part of your whole marketing machine, and marketing is just one key element to your business.

Getting clear on what you have to do each day, each week and each month and most importantly how long they take will give you a clearer view of where your time is spent and how much you actually have to work on the business.

4. Plan your time in advance

I always talk to clients about making sure they never start the day from a blank page.

Unfortunately, as humans so many things can be dictated by how we feel, so take emotion and feelings out of it by mapping out your week on a Sunday or Monday and finalising your daily plans as the last task you do on the previous day.

And if you know you struggle to get going in the morning put in a meeting or a call first thing, that you can’t get out of – understanding how you work best is key to any success.

5. Factor in fun

This one might seem really sad but just hear me out. If you have tasks you don’t want to do, but can’t yet outsource them, or difficult conversations you have to have, how can you make things better?

How about scheduling something that you love doing afterwards, as a little reward? So you know that once you have eaten the frog you have a reward to look forward to.

It’s so easy to become consumed by work, so adding in an hour or your favourite boxset, a lunch date with yourself or a coffee and catch up will be a welcome distraction but make sure you factor in the time – or it will never happen.

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