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3 Realistic Ways to Create Space on Your Calendar without Sacrifice

THE INTERVIEW by Ann Marie O’Braskin

(Click here to view on IG)

Ann Marie:

Hello! Today I am going live with Megan Moran at @mompreneurguide and she’s going to share three realistic strategies for creating space when you don’t have any. Here she is!

Megan:

Hey Ann Marie! How are you? And Oh my gosh who’s that cutie?!

Ann Marie:

Good! This is Charlotte! (Her adorable little daughter who was dressed and ready to go for our interview.)

Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I know this is gonna be a really great topic. I can already tell people are interested and these realistic strategies to create space are something we all always need.

I would love to learn a little bit more about you. Tell us tell us about you and about your business?

Megan:

Yes! Of course! I’m Megan Moran, and I’m the owner of the Mompreneur Guide. My story is kind of interesting. I think it’s one that’s going to be common for our kids, but not so much for our generation.

I was raised by a mompreneur. Growing up, I saw this lifestyle and how amazing it was. My mom had freedom. I was also fortunate that most people in my family ran their own businesses and were entrepreneurs. And because of that, they were able to be around for me. My mom was able to be there and pick me up from school. And even though she might have to work, I was able to ask her questions. Instead of being holed up in somebody else’s office she was able to do both her work and her mom life.

So at a young age, I knew that’s what I wanted too. I knew I wanted to not only be around for my kids but also be able to contribute and follow my creative passions. I wanted to be there to live all the moments.

So I was encouraged at a young age to follow what I was good at and turn it into something. In high school, I actually started my career as an entrepreneur. But I started off as a personal stylist. So definitely a bit different than what I’m doing now. The goal was to have this business set up and ready to go by the time I had kids, so I could have that freedom. But as most things do, when theory turns into reality, it was a lot different. And so once my kids came along, I realized I felt like I was meant to do something different and something more.

We just had our daughter in November and I knew I was going to come back from maternity leave and that styling wasn’t quite going to be right for me. So I had to do a lot of deep diving to figure out what was next. That’s when I realized this interesting connection between what I’ve always wanted out of life and my business and how I was raised. Which is how The Mompreneur Guide was born. Now I’m showing them what time freedom looks like and how to do it with as much ease as possible.

Ann Marie:

That’s amazing. And that’s so cool. I was also raised by a mom entrepreneur. I don’t know if I’ve met any other mom entrepreneurs who were raised that way.

Megan:

So cool to know there’s somebody else out there like me! I don’t really know anyone else who can say that… Well I guess my grandma started her own business too- so my mom also can- but other than that.

Ann Marie:

Yeah, that’s amazing. And I know for me it shaped how I viewed motherhood and how I pictured it for myself in the future, too.

Megan:

Yeah, I feel like there’s a lot of common misconceptions with being a working mom. But as you can probably attest to as well, because we’ve seen a different side, we know what’s truly possible. That it doesn’t have to be that hustle and all that stress all the time. Because when you own your business, you get to be in charge and can craft it however you want. Since we’ve seen it play out in real life instead of reading things out elsewhere we really know what life can be like.

Ann Marie:

Yeah, absolutely. I’m not trying to fit into some completely unrealistic structure either. Because I think a lot of the times that we try to do that. Because the Mom Boss type people don’t show the more realistic side of things. Instead they say “Well just do this and do that.” But just isn’t the same for everyone.

Some people have childcare, and some people don’t some people want it and some people don’t. Right? There are so many different factors and I think a big part of it really is figuring out what feels good for you. And then at least in my experience, I’ve had to figure out what feels good and right to me. Then how can I kind of form my business around that instead of the other way around, which is what I tried to do at first.

Megan:

Yeah, I recently read something that said “Well, this is what mompreneurship is going to be like. You’re always going to have to be juggling and you’re going to be exhausted, but you’re going to feel fulfilled because you’re doing what you love.” And every time I read stuff like that, I think, “But it doesn’t have to be like that!” That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship- you can design your days exactly how you would like them to go.

Ann Marie:

Right, exactly! So I would love to hear the strategies that you have for making space!

Megan:

Yes! So let’s hop in on:

How You Can Create Space Without Sacrifice

And really, it can be done in three steps. I’m not going to say they’re easy steps- as everything worth working for takes a little bit of time + energy. The biggest thing that it’ll take is stillness. Because realizing you want your days to look a certain way. That you want them to be spacious and to have freedom over your time is one thing. But to get there, you need to get some clarity and clarity typically takes carving out some time to sit down and really think.

Oftentimes that feels a little challenging because, if you’re like me, you’re an overachiever/high achiever. And when we have to stop and get still, it feels like “Oh my gosh, I’m getting further and further away from my goals!?” But doing these steps are really going to allow you to move 10 steps ahead, even though you have to take one step at the same place you’re at.

ONE:

So the first thing that I recommend, and I share with my community, is that you need to get super, super clear on who you are, what your goals are, and what you want your days to look like.

Exactly what we were just saying, you as a mompreneur have the freedom to make your days look exactly how you want them to. But if you don’t get clear on what that fully looks like, you’re probably going to stumble through the day and might not end up reaching the goals and dreams you have.

Instead, if you could take some time to sit down and think through:

  • What are your goals?
    • Personally?
    • What goals do you have for your house and family? (Maybe like renovations, or things you want to do like vacations)
    • And then also your business? (What are some things that you really want to accomplish in or with your business?)
  • What’s your WHY?
    • I mentioned my why’s that I wanted to have a business where I could contribute and be free to be creative and do the things that I’m passionate about. But I also want it to be around for my kids.
  • How do you want your days to feel?

When you can get crystal clear and write down: the things that you’re working towards, why you’re doing all of this and why you’re choosing to go down this path and how you want your days to feel. Like you said, you can figure out what works best for you instead of trying to fit into somebody else’s mold.

When you can really identify those and write those down and have them in a place that you can look at, then you can go to the next step, which is alignment.

TWO:

When you can take all those things and compare: what’s important to you and what you want to do versus your current schedule. You can ask yourself:

  • What am I doing that doesn’t match that list?
  • What things do I want to do but I’m not making time for?

I like to call it the keep, cut and add list. The things you’re already doing that match your list are things to keep. The things you’re doing that don’t match can be cut. And things you’re not doing and want to be or things that can be delegated tend to fall in the add (for support) section.

Doing those first two steps will get you super clear and get you aligned. And it’s going to free up a ton of your time. I found when I did this personally (because like I said, my theory and my reality weren’t matching up) that I can now live without the overwhelm or feeling like I have to keep up with the Joneses and do all the things. Instead I know what to say yes to and what to say no to with certainty because I’m very clear on what I want out of life. So it’s really about designing and kind of curating your lifestyle the way you want it to be and having the confidence, support and vision of what’s possible.

The last, third step, that I recommend for having these spacious days and doing it without sacrifice is something I like to call rhythms. I believe in scheduling intuitively and living intentionally and rhythms allow you to do that.

I’ve found routines to be very limiting, confining, and structured. Like: “every month, every morning, I have to wake up and do XYZ in this order. And if I don’t, then my world is going to end.” But in reality, when that day comes you might not feel like doing that specific thing.

Instead, I have come up with a bank for your personal life (which is really what to do with your me time), your home life (so the basic things that need to get done in your house from hanging out with your family to chores), and then your business (so everything from client acquisition to admin to marketing.) I have all of these categories that I help people go through and fill in with the activities that match their goals, their why and how they want their days to feel. Once you fill in these high level buckets, you can go into your day knowing I need to do something in each of these categories and then feel into what feels right to do today based on your energy, schedule and surroundings.

You might think: What matches up with the project that I’m working on today? Or what’s going on in my house? Every day, I’m probably going to do some type of cleaning. But today, I might want to do laundry and tomorrow I might want to vacuum. It can be as simple as that.

Rhythms allow you to live intuitively instead of feeling confined. It’s a lot less stressful and takes a lot less brainpower when you can simply look at a list, know it maps towards my goals, and pick what feels right. You can just look at your list and say: Great! I have me time tonight- what activities feel good today and like they’re really fill up my cup?

Ann Marie:

Yeah, I love that. I’m sure everyone watching this knows: routines, especially with small children, do not always work out. And so I feel like sometimes when we set up these super strict structures, like routines for ourselves, and it inevitably gets thrown off, it can feel like failure.

I love that idea of the rhythm. I feel like if you go into it that way, there’s a lot less chance of that failure feeling because you can choose what works. And that’s so interesting too, because I actually do that for my clients! I will give my Instagram Growth Clients three or four options for topics for content and tell them to pick whichever one inspires them. Because it’ll all create the same output. But if what they’re doing aligns with their energy then it’ll feel so much easier.

Megan:

Yeah, no, you’re so right. It’s all about that feeling.

Prior to figuring this rhythms thing out, I realized that I needed to have the space to work when it’s work time, to mom when it’s mom time, and to me time when it’s Me time. I just get too stressed and overwhelmed to try to do everything at once. And if I instead went that routines route and tried to do everything at once and knew right I needed to be doing XYZ now but then the kids got up early from their nap….. I’d would feel frustrated and overwhelmed.

So you just have to figure out what works best for you and take note of:

  • What are you doing when you are stressed?
  • What do you dread?
  • What’s draining you?
  • What are you doing when you’re lit up and having a great day and feel like you’re killing it?

When you can identify those things then you can do more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. I find that we overcomplicate it sometimes but at the end of the day, it’s your life and it can be that simple. It can be exactly how you want it to be.

Ann Marie:

Yeah, exactly. Obviously there are going to be things we don’t want to do, but we have to do. For me a lot of that is cleaning. But also, even in our business, we know to move things forward there are going to be things that we don’t want to do. But I think if we can include those in a rhythm, ideally, it would be less stressful.

I know, for me, I have ADHD, so I need multiple things happening at once even if my focus is really only on one of them. And I feel like that rhythm idea would still work because I can still have rhythms with a couple of things. Right? But like, whenever I try to have that routine or strict list of like 10 things to get done today and only manage to get through three of them…. I’m like, oh, okay, so 70% of this list didn’t get done.

Megan:

Well, that’s another thing I talk about, too. I’ve made this prioritizing guide. And it’s two pages. One is for you to fill out each day with the things you need to do. And then the other one helps you pick what goes on that list. It’s like two matrixes that help you determine what to put in.

And my big thing is: put three things on your list. 3 feels like a magical number. If you do more, you feel like a superstar that day, if you do less, then maybe you only got a third of your list done and at least it feels less overwhelming.

At the end of the day it’s all about your mindset. People have told me they feel so defeated when that happens and then they ask: What do I do? Do I stay up late and try to get more done? Do I miss out on time with my kids> Do I rush into my office at 5am to finish this up?

What I really help mompreneurs do is reframe the way they look at their days. When you really think about it, biographically: What’s the difference between getting it done today and getting it done tomorrow? Does the 24 hours really make a difference?

In the moment, it feels like the end of the world but when you really think about it. It can wait. And when you can have these rhythms in place that are activities that you know are working towards your goals, then you can pick it back up the next day and continue to climb that mountain. Life’s going to ebb and flow so we’re just got to be along for enjoy that ride with our goals an priorities in mind. It’s a lot less stressful than feeling so structured and confined.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m a high achiever, straight As type of person and I’m not perfect. BUT by reframinig my mindset and pairing that with the facts of my goals and priorities it has helped eliminate my anxiety and keep me grounded.

Ann Marie:

Yes! I frequently need to remind myself that what I do is not like or death. There are very few things that happen in my day that is life or death. Yes I care for my child but even most of the things on my caring for my child list, like, if one of those things doesn’t happen, she’ll be okay. Like, she’ll get herself a snack and that’s okay. Or, like, at the minimum, she’ll tell me she needs it!

Megan:

Yes! Before when my kids cried I used to panic, freak out, and feel like I need to help them now. However I’ve since realized and had to tell myself- they’re in a safe space. If they cry, they’ll be fine. They’re not in danger. They’re fine. And I think that with life too, and your business, like your clients are pulling on you or something in your house, like the dishes or something like that is “crying at you” in a sense. But if you really take a step back and think to yourself everybody’s ok and with the right boundaries and mindset in place I will be too.

Ann Marie:

I love that comparison!

Megan:

Yeah! When you know you’re working towards what you want and you have a structure in place to do it with ease so you’re not overcommitting or over scheduling then life can feel a lot easier.

That’s what I have found has worked for me and so that’s what I’ve started to share. It’s not gonna be perfect and you have to give yourself grace and remember your goals and your why. Because what Mompreneurs are creating for their family and their kids- the freedom and lifestyle they’re creating- is SO important and impactful- just like my mom did for me.

Ann Marie:

Absolutely. I know all of the benefits that I got from having my mom around was so impactful and being able to do that for my daughter and set myself up like that too so that when she’s in school, I can go on field trips and things like that- it’s just something that I really liked that in my childhood and what I want to be able to give her too.

Megan:

Yes! It’s really that prioritizing, knowing your goals and knowing what works for you. And I’m the same way- that is super, super important to me. That’s why I wanted to create my business around it. At the end of the day you need to do whatever works for you. No judgement. Everybody’s got to do what’s best for them.

Ann Marie:

Exactly like there are so many like, our main goals for like how we parent our children. Everyone’s I’m sure look like there are people who, like have their goals are going to be totally different than mine. Like maybe the point of running your business is because you want to send them to sleepaway camp because you love your sleepaway camp. And it’s like, cool, that’s awesome. That’s a great goal.

Where can people learn more about prioritizing and what you were talking about here?

Megan:

The best way to connect and learn more is by grabbing my personal life framework for free and then checking out the Mompreneur Guide Podcast to learn tips + tricks for being a present + productive Mompreneur.

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