3 Ways to Better Boundaries – How to Take Control of Your Time

3 ways to better boundaries Child palying while mother tries to work at computer - Julia Ngapo Business Coaching

How’s your work-life balance? For many entrepreneurs, it’s a constant struggle for domination between the “coulda”, “woulda” and “shouldas” of balancing family, friends, self-care, and, of course, work. But, with constantly changing demands in both work and life outside of work, what can you do to create better boundaries, whilst ensuring all the competing elements of normal life are served?

Whilst there are a number of tools, I use with clients to help them create better boundaries and to, ultimately, grow their business, whilst still maintaining a life outside of the office, I wanted to share this time management tool, which was popularized by Dan Sullivan, a Canadian strategic business coach. It’s a simple tool that allows you to divide your time into different types of days and allows you to ringfence your important activities and get things done.

Here are 3 types of day to help you maximise your productivity, have better boundaries, and make best use of your time both IN and OUTSIDE of work.

Focus Days.

As the name might suggest, “Focus” days are the days when you focus on the most important activities in your business. If, as the saying goes, 20% of your activities generate 80% of your income, then this is the day when your attention should be on that 20%! These days are dedicated to the activities that you know are most important to our business. These tasks are likely to be those which require the most attention, but that you also recognise as having the biggest impact on your business.

Buffer Days.

These are the days when you handle all the small, but necessary “stuff” – the days where you block out time for administrative tasks that need to be done for your business to run smoothly. You might also use these days to return phone calls, reply to routine emails, plan meetings, and read articles. You might also use “Buffer” days to continue your professional development.

Buffer Days are key to freeing up “Focus” days for your most important work. They are also a great way of getting back into the swing of things after “Free” Days.

Free Days.

These are the days when, as you might have guessed, you set yourself free from any work demands – no answering emails, no taking calls, no meetings, no “I’ll just do x” (Insert your activity of choice here)

As busy business owners used to work long hours, free days can be the most difficult to navigate.

We’re programmed to feel guilty if we’re not at least thinking about our business 24/7, but in allowing our brain this “space” we allow our creativity to flow and for our subconscious mind to be at its most powerful. It is during these times; the moments when we allow our brain to visualise our dreams that we can create a much clearer vision of our future goals. We disengage from the must-dos of present demands and allow our focus instead to be on creating the future.

We can’t do this if we’re too burnt out from work.

The beauty of this system lies in its simplicity and the ability for you to implement better boundaries around both work and home life. It is entirely up to you how you apply each day to your working time and allows you to take control of your schedule, and be more productive, yet allowing you to take time away.

Having adopted this system, you’ll find you are able to better manage your time; working to fit in with your lifestyle and out of work commitments, rather than the other way around. It allows you to have days where you focus on the most important areas of business; the reason why you started your business and from which you gain the most fulfillment, as well as days where you focus on the tasks that are the “small cogs”, allowing the smooth running of your business and giving you better control of your life.

If now is the time to invest in your business growth, there are a number of ways that we can work together.

1. With 1:1 coaching.  With monthly or weekly sessions available, we’ll work together to create a sustainable, resilient, and successful business, banish the overwhelm and create success on your terms. Find out more here

2. If you’re starting out or have a young business then my Startup to Success coaching programme is for you. You’ll learn all the steps to creating strong foundations upon which to grow your business. Click this link to discover more

3. For those “quick wins” my Coaching Power Hour is a must. You’ll receive actionable steps to help you move past your blocks, gain clarity, and gain the momentum to grow your business. Book your Power Hour here

Being in Flow – How to increase productivity in business

tranquil river with stepping stones over How to increase productivity in business

Being a productivity ninja would be great. But always achieving what we set out to do, always meeting deadlines, and crossing off every item on our to-do list before the clock strikes five, is an ideal that few of us can ever achieve.  But, if you are wondering how to increase productivity in business, there are some simple steps that will help you, if not achieve everything every day, at least get the most important things done.

In this blog, I’m going to help you to understand the concept of being in flow in your business and show how you can ensure that you use this state to increase productivity in business -and life in general.

Increasing Productivity in Business – The Power of Being in Flow

What is ‘Flow’?

Can you remember the last time that you were so engrossed in an activity that you completely lost yourself in the task? Time passed, but you were so involved in what you were doing that you didn’t notice?

This is what is often referred to as “being in flow” That mental state where creativity blooms, where you’re more productive, more empowered, and ready to achieve. Typically, during these times, you’ll also feel pretty good about yourself. You’ll have the end goal in focus and be motivated to reach it.

You may have heard this referred to as “being in the zone” and you may already have experienced moments like this, where everything goes right, and you’re on the fast track to getting things done.

It’s a great feeling. But if you are looking to increase productivity in your business, instead of passively waiting for moments of flow to arrive, there are things you can do to intentionally create that flow and, in so doing, supercharge your ability to get things done and reduce stress.

Here are 6 practical ways to create flow and reap the benefits:

Set the stage.

The easiest way of signaling to the brain that you want to get into a flow state is to create an action, or series of actions that signal to both brain and body that you want to focus on one specific task, free from distraction.

Your actions could be a short meditation, spending 10 minutes outside in the fresh air, or a few moments making a cup of tea, whilst thinking around the task at hand. It doesn’t matter what your actions are, the key is that they remain the same and are repeated every time you wish to get in flow. This will signal to your mind and body that it’s time to focus.

Get rid of distractions.

Are you guilty of settling down to one task, then being distracted by your phone pinging, messages arriving, or even the lure of social media? These might seem like momentary lapses in focus, but it has been proven that to reach flow, you must eliminate all distractions. Every time you allow your focus to be challenged, you take yourself further from that flow state. In fact, research has shown that it can take 25 minutes to regain full focus.

Don’t also forget that, to the procrastinators amongst us, desk items can also prove an opportune distraction! Help yourself by sitting down at a clear desk. Of course, diversions can come from the inside as well as the outside, so use journaling or meditation to keep your mind as clear as possible from stress and to control your thoughts.

Understand Your Peak Time.

This involves not only being self-aware enough to know when you’re at your best but also combining that with the best environment in which you can focus. It’s pointless to try and create this level of focus when you’re distracted by others and their noise. 

So, if you find that your energy levels are at their highest early in the mornings, plus the office or household is quietest then, this might be the time to focus on getting into flow.

Get the Balance between Challenging and Difficult.

Any tasks need to be enough of a challenge that you’re not going to complete them without any thought or effort. You can’t create that all-important flow if you’re brain knows it could complete the task easily; It needs to be enough of a challenge to require your full concentration. 

However, on the flip side, if the task means that you spend an inordinate amount of time just trying to figure out how to do it, then you’ll end up stressed and frustrated and as far from flow as you could be.

Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.  The ego falls away. Time flies.  Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.





Mikaly Csikszentmihalyi

Have a Clear Goal.

One of the keys to increasing productivity in business is to be clear on the outcome you desire from any task. When you lack clarity, your brain will naturally struggle to maintain concentration. In addition, you’ll be laying yourself wide open to procrastination which thrives on a lack of clarity, pushing you towards easier tasks or abandoning the job at hand.

Keep Practising.

Like any muscle, focus is something that doesn’t just “come”. You’ll need to practise sustaining focus for any length of time. The key here is to start small and to gradually increase the time that you are able to maintain in flow.

Summary: The Power of Being in Flow

When you’re looking to increase productivity in business, being in flow gives you a distinct advantage. By practising and maintaining being in flow you’ll be able to stay focused on important tasks and projects and get them done, rather than the “start/stop” methods used by others.

Although it can take time to achieve, once you have mastered working in flow, you’ll most certainly feel happier and more fulfilled in your working day and less stressed.

And that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

Remember, if now is the time to invest in your business growth, to create ease and flow, to discover ways to increase productivity in your business, to align your values to your business, or to build a business that you’ll love getting up to each day, then there are several ways that we can work together:

1. With 1:1 coaching.  With monthly or weekly sessions available, we’ll work together to create a sustainable, resilient, and successful business, banish the overwhelm and create success on your terms. Find out more here:

2. If you’re starting out or have a young business then my Startup to Success coaching programme is for you. You’ll learn all the steps to creating strong foundations upon which to grow your business. Click this link to discover more:

3. For those “quick wins” my Coaching Power Hour is a must. You’ll receive actionable steps to help you move past your blocks, gain clarity, and gain the momentum to grow your business. Book your Power Hour here

If you’re not sure which option is best suited, then why not Book a Call, and let’s have a chat.