Boss Responses

#29: How to Balance Work and Personal Responsibilities with Alan Heymann

January 11, 2024 Treasa Edmond Episode 29
#29: How to Balance Work and Personal Responsibilities with Alan Heymann
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Boss Responses
#29: How to Balance Work and Personal Responsibilities with Alan Heymann
Jan 11, 2024 Episode 29
Treasa Edmond

In this episode of the Boss Responses podcast, host Treasa Edmond, and her guest co-host, Alan Heymann, take a look at the challenging topic of maintaining work-life balance when running a business. Discussing the difficulty of managing time in the face of client demands and family responsibilities, they emphasize the importance of defining what you want your life and work to look like, before working toward that goal. Treasa and Alan explore strategies such as setting boundaries, understanding when to say "no" and the value of being present during working hours. They also highlight the implications for creatives, especially writers, of recognizing their peak productive times and balancing this with their other commitments.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Alan Heymann, JD, PCC has a knack for coaching fellow introverts, helping them find their superpowers in an extroverted world. Alan also specializes in coaching through transitions. He is the author of the book Don’t Just Have the Soup: 52 Analogies for
 Leadership, Coaching and Life
. An expert communicator and engaging
speaker, he spent more than two decades in public, government, and nonprofit communications—leading teams from 2 to more than 100 people. Inspired by a career transformation he brought about with the support of an executive coach, Alan decided to become a coach himself. He founded Peaceful Direction in April 2019.
Buy your copy of Don’t Just Have the Soup: 52 Analogies for
 Leadership, Coaching and Life

Connect  with Alan on LinkedIn



Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the Boss Responses podcast, host Treasa Edmond, and her guest co-host, Alan Heymann, take a look at the challenging topic of maintaining work-life balance when running a business. Discussing the difficulty of managing time in the face of client demands and family responsibilities, they emphasize the importance of defining what you want your life and work to look like, before working toward that goal. Treasa and Alan explore strategies such as setting boundaries, understanding when to say "no" and the value of being present during working hours. They also highlight the implications for creatives, especially writers, of recognizing their peak productive times and balancing this with their other commitments.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Alan Heymann, JD, PCC has a knack for coaching fellow introverts, helping them find their superpowers in an extroverted world. Alan also specializes in coaching through transitions. He is the author of the book Don’t Just Have the Soup: 52 Analogies for
 Leadership, Coaching and Life
. An expert communicator and engaging
speaker, he spent more than two decades in public, government, and nonprofit communications—leading teams from 2 to more than 100 people. Inspired by a career transformation he brought about with the support of an executive coach, Alan decided to become a coach himself. He founded Peaceful Direction in April 2019.
Buy your copy of Don’t Just Have the Soup: 52 Analogies for
 Leadership, Coaching and Life

Connect  with Alan on LinkedIn



Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome to the Boss Responses podcast and welcome back to day four with guest co-host Alan Heymann.

Treasa Edmond:

Today we're going to talk about a topic that I know a lot of us struggle with how do you find balance in your life when you're running a freelance business? Let's go ahead and jump right into that topic. If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, Treasa Edmond. I've been dealing with clients and running my business for nearly two decades and in that time I've dealt with my share of doubt, imposter syndrome and not knowing what to say when a client asks a question. I wasn't ready for. I created this podcast to empower you with the Boss Responses you need to grow your business. Each week, my guest co-host and I will bring you five episodes packed with practical insights. Monday through Thursday, we answer your questions, and Fridays we dive deep to explore how our co-host embraced their role as the boss of their business.

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome to Boss Responses. We are back for day four with Alan Heymann, and Alan, I'm going to ask you the question again today. It starts off with I'm stressed, and I think a lot of us resonate with that. I'm stressed. I have plenty of clients maybe too many, but I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. That's led to a lot of late nights and early mornings, because afternoons and evenings are filled with child-related activities and family time. How do I balance all of this?

Alan Heymann:

Wow, I'm just pausing for a moment to let the question settle in, because I feel like I have had a flavor of this discussion, certainly with myself and my own family and with almost every single client hundreds of them and since I began my coaching practice. This is not an issue that is peculiar to being a freelancer or a small business owner or an employee. It's sort of something that I think all of us have to deal with. Yeah, and to me it's a couple of things. One, it's taking a look at what the person who wrote in actually wants to have happened. What is the desired state versus the current state? And we're not talking at this point about whether it's possible or whether the finances work out, or whether we can expand on some obligations or loosen up. Very simply, what does the person want? Is it fewer clients? Is it fewer hours on the job? Is it fewer nights and weekends? And once we understand what that hypothetical future picture could look like, then we can spend some time and energy on figuring out how to get there. Because the thing that I want to say about this and I think this is absolutely true for anybody who does any kind of work to generate an income is that work will take from you often more than you are willing to put in and you are responsible for deciding the size of the container that work fits into in your no-transcript, because work is going to take all of the available space in that container. It's like a gas in that way. That's the first thing is what does the box look like?

Alan Heymann:

For example, when I started my coaching practice, one of my objectives was to work fewer hours than I had when I was one working full-time for somebody else and two having a fairly substantial commute into the city and back every day to get to my job. That was a choice. I did that, recognizing that there would be some trade-offs. If I worked 60, 70, 80 hours a week at my coaching practice, could I make more money? Probably so. Is my family going to love me for it? Probably not.

Alan Heymann:

As an introvert and as a person whose work is deeply personal and deeply interactive and interpersonal, I know that I'm not as good at this job beyond a certain limit of a number of coaching sessions per day or per week. If I start to exceed that, it's not going to be in service to the people I'm trying to serve. All of those are questions that I was asking myself as I tried to get my own handle on my answer to my recipe. It's not perfect None of us ever are but largely I have given up the nights and weekends and the going back to work after the kids go to bed phenomenon that the listener is describing in their email.

Alan Heymann:

I think it comes from some deep self-examination about what is necessary, what is desired, and then we figure out how to make that possible. As far as working with my clients on this issue, who do have full-time jobs, a lot of times it almost goes back to that first question about the boundaries with the client. How do you tell your boss guess what I'm not going to answer your emails at eight o'clock at night because that's my time, or is it? You're not paying me to do that? Those sorts of things are almost common, regardless of how you're generating your income. So it's another boundary conversation, but the first conversation is with yourself on what you want the boundaries to be.

Treasa Edmond:

You mentioned boundaries again, and I think everything we do when we step up as the boss of our business is about boundaries. We're setting boundaries for ourselves, we're setting them for other people, we're setting them for our business, that division between business and our regular life. You'd mentioned desired state versus current state and I love the image of that. And then, as you kept talking, I saw playing out in my head that public speaking thing that everyone does, where you have the vessel and you have the big rocks and the little rocks and then the sand, and then you put the water in and that's. If anyone's not seen that, go find it. It really does drive home. There's not much room for big rocks in there. You have to choose just a couple of things. So it goes back to even what we were talking about yesterday. You have to choose the why and what matters and then make sure that your big rocks really align with that so that you can get from that current state to the desired state. And I honestly, I deal with this all the time. This is an ongoing issue and I think if we aren't totally aware that it's going to happen, or that it can happen, and we don't constantly work on it, then it's way too easy to fall back into that stressed state rather than focusing on working very deliberately to make sure that we have. I hate the idea of a balanced life, because I don't think anyone has a balanced life, but finding the life that works for us.

Treasa Edmond:

And when I was doing ghost writing all the time, my schedule was mine. I had a couple of meetings where I would have shop for a client but I would get up really early in the morning and write for a couple of hours and then I would have this big block of time in the day where I could either work on my business, if it needed it, or go shopping, take the dog for a walk, go get my hair done, whatever I wanted to do. And then I had another really productive time in the evening and then sometimes it had shifted and I'd feel like I was more productive in the middle of the day. But if I didn't take the time to be aware of what my body was telling me and what my brain was telling me, then I got out of balance really quickly and I would start feeling that stress again.

Treasa Edmond:

But I'm like you, I wanted to work less hours and make more money, and I did, but I had to be incredibly deliberate about what I allowed onto my plate and I very, very quickly learned the value of the word no, and I think no is a complete sentence. You do not have to explain yourself, you do not have to give an excuse for why you're saying no, just no. That doesn't work for me right now, and then move on. And I do that with clients, I do that in my personal life, because your personal life can quickly take over as well. So the balance is what works for you. It's not what someone else tells you it is. And once again it all comes back to what Alan said about boundaries.

Alan Heymann:

Absolutely, and so the hope is that over time you get a little bit more skilled at recognizing when that stressed out feeling is starting to come on, versus when it's fully upon you and then you're reacting to it. So one of the wisest pieces of advice I ever got in setting up my own independent business was from somebody who had done this considerably before I did, and she said look, your clients are paying you to do something, but they're also paying you to not do everything else you could be doing during that time.

Treasa Edmond:

Yes.

Alan Heymann:

So if you're assessing your own situation and you're realizing that everything else you could not be doing during that time is not getting the proper attention and energy, that's when you refocus and figure out how to rebalance things Again, assuming the finances work out and you're not just under constant pressure to make up the numbers.

Treasa Edmond:

That's brilliant. That also speaks to the ability to focus on what you need to focus on in that moment, especially with something like coaching, or if you're doing consulting and your client is paying you for an hour of your time. If you can't sit there and really truly focus on your client's questions and problems during that time, then you are one selling them a bag of lies, but you are doing a disservice to both of you because you're splitting your focus and you're not giving your client what they deserve. That's an important personal boundary, I think, knowing that if you're giving this time to this thing, then you're giving this time to this thing. I like that. I love that.

Alan Heymann:

That's a great reminder that your values to your clients is not just measured in hours and minutes. It's measured in presence, it's measured in attention, it's measured in energy. There are plenty of studies out there that you can look up on the optimum number of hours for an employee to work in a day or a week, let's say and how much maximum productivity you get out versus the number of hours typically somebody would spend in their office chair. It's not the same thing, but yeah, absolutely. What are you capable of delivering when you are at your best for your clients? To me, is this the true measure of that.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, one other thing. I know we're running a little bit long on this one, but I think this needs said. A lot of freelance work or small business ownership has a creative element to it and you cannot be creative for eight hours a day. You just can't do it. It's not sustainable. So if you are going to be a writer, I'm going to fall back on that because that's my bailiwick.

Treasa Edmond:

If you're going to be a writer, you need to realize that you can probably only legitimately write good work about four hours a day. You can probably legitimately only write great work for an hour and a half two hours a day, and you need to figure that in. So when you're scheduling clients, you can't say I have 40 hours a week of writing time now because you don't One. You have to have time for your business. You probably only have six or seven really good hours a week that you can write in and you probably only have maybe 15 that you can write passable work in. So limit yourself, make sure that you're doing that and do not over schedule your client work. I know it's the same thing with coaching. When I was doing writing coaching, I had to limit how many coaching sessions I could do a day, because it just that takes a whole different part of you but it takes more of you and you can't give that level of attention to that many people in one day.

Alan Heymann:

You're absolutely right.

Treasa Edmond:

All right, tomorrow is Alan's day. We're going to talk all about him, his business and what we can learn from him. So join us tomorrow for day five with Alan Heyman.

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