3 Tools To Protect Your Work-Life Balance as an Independent Consultant

Jan 28, 2022
 

I was invited this past week to speak at the Mom Project's Comeback Summit.

They asked me to speak about work-life balance strategies.

As I was preparing my slides, it brought me back to a "rock bottom" time when I was a consultant.

Can you relate to this?

What's been your rock bottom when it comes to work-life balance?

 

My work-life balance rock bottom moment as a consultant

I was trying to juggle three kids (ages 6 and under) along with my demanding consulting client.

  • One one hand, I had a lot of flexibility to coordinate meetings and work around the kid's schedules.
  • On the other hand, the client had a lot of last minute requests.

I had tricked myself into believing that I had work-life balance, based on the simple fact that I was my own boss.

 

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But, in reality, I didn't have balance.

I was on the verge of burnout.

The rock bottom happened one day when I had arranged my meetings for the afternoon, so I could take the boys to the swimming pool in the morning.

On the way home from the pool, the client called with an impromptu meeting.

Instead of

  1. not answering or
  2. saying no,

I decided to take the meeting from the car.

I figured the kids were tired and decided nothing could go wrong....

 

Of course, that was a big miscalculation.

As soon as the meeting started, of course the boys' energy spiked., and they started fighting and yelling in the back seat.

I felt trapped.

The best solution I could create at the time was to pull the car to the side of the road and put my laptop on the hood while the boys were left to their own devices inside the car.

I set my laptop on the hood and finished the meeting.

The street noise was really distracting, and in hindsight, leaving the car running and in park was incredibly dangerous!

 

Work life balance tips for consultants
 

**This isn't me, obviously. I certainly didn't take a picture at that moment. But, this gives you a visual for what it looked like.** 

This was my rock bottom.

It was then that I realized life balance wasn't an automatic result just because I was my own boss.

 

How did I fix this?

The 5-Steps To Create and Protect Your Work-Life Balance as a Consultant:
  1. First, I took a step back and defined what I wanted my ideal week to look like I used this as my guide to schedule meetings and to take control vs. being reactive.
  2. stopped my default response of YES and thinking I'd figure out how to make whatever someone wanted me to do work.
  3.  I set up guiding principles for how I would run my day
  4. I created an exception process so I was more clear on when I'd make compromises and why and I
  5. Got got clear on why I wanted balance and what it meant for me. It turns out that it wasn't "balance" I was really wanting. It was to stop feeling overwhelmed, guilty and out of control.

This is part of the Life Balance formula I shared with the Mom Project Summit this week.

 

How does this apply to you?

What does this all mean for you?

You might not be juggling screaming kids with client work. Or making bad decisions to take a meeting on the hood of a running car with three kids in the backseat.

But, I know you're juggling your own version of life and work.

And,

  • I don't want you to repeat this same mistake I made.
  • I don't want you to re-create the corporate employee dynamics like I did.
  • I want to make sure you enjoy the life balance that led you to become your own boss.

I hope this story and the 4 steps I shared will help you recalibrate your own balance.

 

And, for more:

Work Life Balance tips for consultants
 

 

Melisa Liberman

Business Coach and Strategist for Independent Consultants

Host of the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast

Oh, and one more thing.

Do you want a roadmap so you are clear on exactly what you need to do (and what you need to stop doing) to meet your 2022 consulting business goals? Book an IC Success Blueprint call so we can create one together for your business. Click here for details.

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