Barbara Luna launched Luna Customer Experience Consulting to help independent businesses evaluate and reform their customers’ experience in order to maximize their marketing investment and improve their customer retention
Q: How did coping with home life show up for you?
A: My home life was a slow descent into chaos. As I transitioned from a stay-at-home mother to a working one, our lives slowly became more and more chaotic. My house was increasingly untidy (which makes me crazy), our meal times were more and more rushed, and we were late everywhere we went.
And the things I needed to do to get my new business up and running were taking way too long to complete. I felt scattered and frustrated most of the time.
Q: What did this stop you from doing?
A: The amount of quality time I spent with my girls was getting less and less. Instead of doing fun things on the weekends, I would stay home and try to do work while my girls entertained themselves. At night, I would rush through dinner and only read one story, instead of two or three, at bed time.
And my work was still not getting done. I didn’t seem to be able to make decisions about my business. I had all these great ideas and things I wanted to get started, but I couldn’t get any of them completed.
Q: What steps have you taken?
A: They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. Once I realized how the chaos was affecting us all, I knew I had to make changes. The first step was making a list– getting back to my natural way of bringing order to my life by writing things down and putting them in a prioritized order.
My list showed me two things that I needed to act on: I had confused my priorities and I was not holding myself accountable for any of those priorities.
To address my confused priorities, I relied on my love of lists. I have a time management/diary system that works quite well for me and it is based on your personal priorities (Franklin Covey). Since my highest priority remains being the best mom I can be, my daily list of tasks prioritizes the tasks that I need to do for myself and my girls. But it also includes the things that will, hopefully, make me a successful business owner. Keeping these two parts of me together, but in appropriate proportion to their priority sorted the chaos in my mind. And that has led to less chaos in my life.
The second major step I took was getting assistance. I didn’t need help with my work, per se. I knew what my businesses needed, and knew how to do it. But I was struggling with holding myself to a schedule. So I hired a coach. I was nervous about spending the money. I delayed doing this for a long time, but I finally did it and it helped tremendously.
Having regular meetings with a coach gives me a sense of accountability that you don’t get when you work for yourself. It has been the difference between knowing my priorities and acting on them consistently. Slowly the chaos subsides as consistency takes over. Hooray!
These two major steps even enhance each other. My coach had me put even more structure into my daily routine, using my planning system. That gives me some accountability to myself, even when it’s just me—no coach.
One last major change I’ve made is adding wellness to my daily life. I spend about 15 minutes a day practicing my own form of meditation. It’s a combination of things I’ve learned work for me… formal mediation, relaxation techniques, and reiki. I try to do more than 15 minutes when I can, but I make sure I get these 15 minutes to myself.
Q: What can you do now that you couldn’t before? How does that make you feel?
A: We have started going to all the places we love again… Leed’s Castle, the beach in Whitstable, Dover. The best part is that when I’m spending these fun times with my girls, I am not stressed about all the things I should be doing instead.
Also, the clarity that comes with having your priorities front and centre helps me sleep better.
Here’s an improvement I never thought would happen: I have a messy house. I could never have lived, or worked, in a messy house before. But once my priorities were clear, and when I truly grasped how busy I am going to be as a self-employed mum, I realize that something had to give. There were some things I just would not be able to do. Based on my priorities, those things are usually to do with cleaning my house. And I’m ok with that. I *never* thought that would happen!
Less stressed. More focused. I enjoy my time with my children more. More progress with my business. All of these things make me feel so much more in control. And control makes a person feel more calm, like its evil twin chaos, is a self-sustaining cycle.
Q: What would you say to others?
A: Prioritize. I know it sounds trite, but if your actions are based on your priorities you feel better about what you are doing. And what you don’t get done. It is easier to focus on what is happening in the moment if you chose the moment for the right reasons. Everyone has a method that works for them, you just need to find it. A diary, or a tablet, or paper. Or even your mobile phone. However you do it, find a way to keep your priorities front and centre.