Season 3, Episode 4

Boundaries: The Sequel

In our first season (ep 3), we discussed how to create and enforce healthy boundaries with family, friends, and clients. Now it’s time to turn the mirror around.

In this episode, we take a hard look at why maintaining boundaries can be such an internal struggle and talk about what might work better.

Betsy Molly Kathy

About this Episode

In our first season (ep 3), we discussed how to create and enforce healthy boundaries with family, friends, and clients. Now it’s time to turn the mirror around.

In this episode, we take a hard look at why maintaining boundaries can be such an internal struggle and talk about what might work better.

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In this episode, we mention the following:


Molly McBeath 0:04
Yes boundaries, the sequel,

Kathleen Fealy 0:06
boundaries, boundaries the sequel, I think this is where I probably should have listened to boundaries the prequel so that I could remember what I said I was good at the first time around because I have a feeling that I have like come not full circle. If I was doing it right the first time I’m not anymore

in this episode of Yes, but however, Betsy, Molly and Kathy discuss whether boundaries are needed for business, in your personal life? And are they the pathway to balance?

As entrepreneurs, our businesses change in so many different ways, and in so many different directions? That it’s like, each time it changes, we have to learn how to set boundaries again. And if we were good at it before, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be good at it. Next time. Ah, the joys of entrepreneurship.

Molly McBeath 1:07
I feel the same way that my boundaries are always there’s always another hill to climb. For me, I’d say oh, now I gotta set that a boundary with this new client, or this new situation? I don’t know. I just never feels like a gets easy. I’m it gets easier, I suppose. But I don’t feel like it gets easy.

Kathleen Fealy 1:33
Okay, so we’re talking about boundaries. And Kathy just made big changes. As far as

any changes, but I’m not sure if my use of the word boundaries is how most people are looking at boundaries now. But this last three months has been a wide, oh might awaken at all. And so I tried to put boundaries around how many hours I was going to work for a client. Part of it is because I’m having some health issues due to working such long hours. And so I think that, where I’m noticing now, my definition of boundaries isn’t so much my boundary with my client saying you can have X number of hours, because that’s all I can give you. I think now, I’ve discovered that my problem with boundaries is with myself. It’s not with the client expecting more, he’s expecting more, because I gave more. Why did I give more because I can’t do a partially complete job. I have to do a job that I’m proud of. So I just couldn’t stop myself from doing that kind of work. So instead, I turned down the contract. And I’m actually forcing myself and I do mean forcing myself. And this sounds like a first world problem. And it is a first world problem. But I’m forcing myself not to do much work right now and to focus on my physical health because I if I don’t, in six months to a year, I could have some very, very serious health issues. I started realizing my boundaries, is really with myself and trying to force me to stick to what I need to do. I need to stick to being more mindful of spreading out my physical therapy exercises, I need to be more mindful of if I just have to take I mean, I have trouble walking right now because I’ve been sitting too long. Even just getting out the door of my apartment and walking down the hallway two or three times a day, I have got to start doing and I have to start setting the boundaries that I can’t do anything else until I pay attention to what I need to do for me. And that’s a really weird place when you’re an entrepreneur. Because you’re you’re always thinking about your clients and how you’re setting the boundaries with your client and your family and a bit with yourself. But now I’m finding that the boundaries really with me, and with how I perceive things, because this is my first week where I haven’t been on email constantly or in meetings constantly. And I’m feeling like I gotta get a new client.

I don’t I had to take care of myself.

I don’t think your definition of boundaries is really that different. It’s just acknowledging that I’m You’re the problem. But I’ve always said, I’m the problem when it comes to obeying boundaries. I’m the problem, I have known that about myself. Because for the very same reason that you give Kathy, I think as entrepreneurs, it’s, we often underestimate the amount of time it takes to do that stellar job. And so our scope of work is set to something that is comfortable for the client and what we think is reasonable. But then we want to over deliver, and a lot of times over delivering means putting more time into it than we’re being paid to put into it. And so it’s, I mean, I do that I have been the worst offender of my own boundaries. I’m the worst. But I think you’re right and acknowledging that that’s your first step to making it better.

Molly McBeath 5:56
Yes, I’m sitting here wondering, can we make like a 12 step program about this?

Kathleen Fealy 6:02
I actually thought I could start a support group for this, because I know there’s other people that are going through this, right figure this out. And, and it is really hard. Because when you’re running your own business, you feel like you need to be running your business and bringing in more clients. And right now, I mean, I have some clients, it’s not like I don’t have anybody. But even if I didn’t have anybody, I have to still like take this break, I said to my husband that I almost have to consider this a sabbatical. And I know that’s becoming a term everybody’s starting to use again. Because after the great resignation, there’s now a great sabbatical. But that’s not where it came from. It’s really taking the time to get the energy back to get the focus back. So I can do a really good job in the future for everybody else, and still take care of myself.

Molly McBeath 6:51
His sabbatical related to Sabbath, I would imagine that they are related. Etymologically

Kathleen Fealy 6:58
I think they’re that way and the the only people I’ve ever heard really, and it probably is because the only place I’ve ever heard sabbatical being used as either in the religious areas, or in colleges and universities.

um, but, you know, I do think that there’s something to be said for that. But that’s what’s really weird because it used to be boundaries was always about, you know, me handling my clients. And now it’s really me handling me,

Molly McBeath 7:26
my husband’s always telling me that I should really try to not work for somebody who’s just so hard on me. I was trying to find a nice way to say that. And what he means is that I’m a terrible person to work for, for myself. I don’t I don’t think I’m a terrible person to work for when I you know, hire subcontractors I go out of my way to be nice to them and hopefully supportive of what they need. But oh, I am hard on myself. Yeah, I’m constantly saying, Well, yeah, I should have stopped work by six o’clock today. But this project isn’t as good as I would like it to be. So I’ll spend another hour on it. That’s okay. Yeah. And, and so it goes, and you start to roll down the slippery slope, and you look up and it’s 830 instead of seven, and you’re like, oh, yeah, my kid needs dinner. Oops. And yeah, other people. And and I need dinner, you know, pay, we all pay the price of me not holding to my own bones. By the way, my kid can feed themselves. They’re old enough. Talking about a toddler here, but still not ignoring somebody who cannot take care of. So yeah, I totally agree that I am also the problem.

Kathleen Fealy 9:01
While we’re in complete agreement,

we this is very weird. We’re never in complete agreement totally, especially with the term boundaries, boundaries for us usually, so work oriented.

We’re sorry for this boring edition of agreeing with each other. So what’s the solution, though? I mean, if we all feel like that, it would seem that if we’re the problem, we have the power to become the solution.

I was actually talking to someone today about this because I went to someone that does dry needling, which is sort of a form of acupuncture. And she suggested that because I was saying joking with her that for the distance my first week where I wasn’t working on it, the major project I had been working on, so it sort of felt like I had nothing to do and yet I had everything to do but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. And she’s like, You have got to start scheduling yourself just like you did at the office. And I realized she’s right. Because if I start to schedule things, like not only the physical therapy, and you know, various other things that I need to take care of, but she was asking me what I did for fun, and I don’t know anymore. do for fun. And so she’s like, so scheduling yourself an hour to try something new. I think in a way, it’s a way to rebalance yourself, in a way, because I think when we all start to recognize, since I’m sort of surprised that both of you are also recognizing yourself as a problem versus the clients, because usually, it’s the other way. For me, at least, I know, my body actually is the one that told me I was so out of balance, and that, I mean, I’ve heard Molly say things to me in the past, like the last six months or eight months saying, you know, you should you be bringing in someone to help you with this or that because you’re seeming to work an awful lot of long hours, and you’re doing stuff that you shouldn’t necessarily have to do and stuff. And I’d be like, Oh, no, I’ve got it under control and things like that. And I think that if you don’t pay attention, and then this is my public service announcement, if you don’t pay attention to when your body has really started to have trouble, especially if you sit a lot, that whole line about sitting is the new smoking, and I always just blew it off, you shorten your muscles in your leg. So it’s not pleasant trying to lengthen them again. You know, it’s, I think it’s something that you have to start to pay attention to. So I’m sorry, I seem to be, you know, off on a tangent today about this, but it has just been such an eye opener for how much pain?

Molly McBeath 11:55
Well, it reminds me also of stories that I heard when I was in graduate school, about people who had just finished like their PhD orals or something, and then, like, walked out of the room, finished their orals 30 seconds earlier and realized that they had a cracked tooth. And probably, you know, like down in the root. And they were in agony, but they had not noticed because they were so stressed out about what was going on with school. And there are all kinds of stories like that, where you just you’re so focused on a goal that you don’t notice your own physical trauma. Think that’s super common, and unfortunate. And it’s why all the you know, life coaches and yoga experts and meditators are only listened to your body. And I keep thinking, I know. But I also am really bad at listening to myself on any realm. Not just my body. My emotions, my thoughts, not, I listen to the bad thoughts, but not the good thoughts. So yeah, I gotta work on that too. I did definitely a self improvement project. So Kathy, if you if you put it on your calendar, is that enough?

Kathleen Fealy 13:27
I’m making charts and putting them around the house because I have to see the axis too, next to the task that I have to complete. And I need to be able to have my husband see it, so that he can get on my case, if I’m not doing it, because quite honestly, it’s accountability. So it’s like doing that having to put in scheduling, having to put in scheduling of like how long I can sit at this desk versus getting rid of the chair and moving it into another room. So I have to use my standing desk and stand there when I’m working and things like that. So that’s it. What about you? You’re being very quiet as I tried to throw the ball to you.

Well, no, I think for me, so my my everything has I have put I am on sabbatical from client work. It was supposed to be all first quarter. And will I’m hoping to extend it so that I can work on my own programs and courses. So everything’s going really well. It’s just I think that it’s a resetting of boundaries. And I know who I’m accountable to but it isn’t just like one person. I have people in a membership. So there are a lot of people I’m accountable to but I also So I have a lot of small tasks that need to be done. And it’s just very different from working on larger client projects. And I think that so I’m, I am not I am not in a place where everything’s going wrong, because I’m not obeying boundaries. I’m in a place where I’m like, Where the heck are my boundaries? Because, you know, I It’s like, what are they now I need to reset them. I don’t know that I’m going to be any better at obeying them. I know that the ones that I had previously aren’t serving me. And so it’s, it’s actually kind of fun. In a way.

Molly McBeath 15:48
What is this fun you speak of?

Kathleen Fealy 15:50
I don’t know. It’s it’s that feeling of things being new. Things being different. And but but because I did already have, it’s not like I quit cold turkey. Last year, I had started the membership and get focused came out of beta 15 month beta. But it’s so I had something to move to. It’s just the train. It’s not like I had the whole transition worked out. So I’m sorry for the dog in the background. Yeah, he’s, he’s, he’s barking at the wind again. But I think that it’s going to be super important for me to figure out what those boundaries are quickly. Because a lot of the people in my membership are friends. And so it’s like, how do you set boundaries with friends? Yeah, that’s going to be super tricky. Because these are people that I would say yes to no matter what. So I’m gonna have to be it’s like, Hey, can we step outside of the membership? I’ll say yes, out here. But in there, I have to say no. It’s like, how do you do that. But I think it’s exciting. I think it’s a fun thing, a fun challenge.

Molly McBeath 17:12
And it makes me think of is, I’m part of a Slack group of editors. And for that is actually related to a different than editing podcasts that I listened to. And they got zoom bombed. Recently, when they were recording, I didn’t happen to be watching the episode. But so somebody started sending out notices. For places that put out, like zoom etiquette, sorts of things similar to what you’d see at the beginning of a conference, or, you know, just like, or the, you know, even at the top of movie back in the days when we went to movie theaters, about you know, silence your phones, please and no smoking back in the old days, stuff like that. And I wonder if that kind of thing would be helpful to you to write out what you think the group’s boundaries should be, and then post them somewhere. So that maybe that would sidestep having to have those sort of awkward conversations with friends of these are the policies for this group?

Betsy Muse 18:34
Yeah, that was the plan wants it officially, and it has officially launched, but, you know, it’s growing slowly. And so I think that and, and I will tell you, I don’t think there’s one person in there who won’t happily honor boundaries, they just haven’t been necessary. Because it truly is just a wonderful group. And they’re all entrepreneurs, so they understand what it means, you know, and what it feels like, to always be need to be on so I’m, you know, I think it’s a great idea. And, and it’s necessary, it’s only fair to everybody.

Kathleen Fealy 19:23
Do you think that setting the boundaries for like, the group also helps the group so that like somebody like say, person, a, not you but Person A in the group, all of a sudden, like some, like some kind of bragging advice from Person C or something like that, and then they keep going to Person C over and over again, but C doesn’t know how to deal with a it’s sort of like the boundaries not only help you keep to your it’s provide boundaries for you and how you interact with everybody. So that Friendship part doesn’t get there as interrupted or hurt, but also provides some boundaries for the other people that might end up having the same weird relationship, weird relationships wrong, but you know, the friendship, but mentorship that sometimes develops in these groups. But it becomes too clingy at times. And all that doesn’t always happen. But I’ve noticed it in a couple of groups that I’ve been in before where there’s people with more experience than people that don’t have as much. And if there’s no guidance, and it’s sometimes provides for awkwardness,

Betsy Muse 20:37
I think boundaries help everyone, even if even if it doesn’t single a group out or even single out a behavior. It sets the tone. And I think common sense fills in the gaps. So for most people, every you know, you know, we always have people who push boundaries. But I think for the most part, it’s, this is a group that super respectful. And I think that sets the tone for anyone else coming in. So

Molly McBeath 21:07
So Greta Kay have something that she says about how boundaries what is it? I could swear that she had some sort of saying for this situation? Yes, have any idea what I’m talking about? Oh, there’s something about that. Boundaries, create the structure of the relationship. Something like that. It was I don’t know, maybe it’ll come to me later. I’ll try it. Or I’ll ask you what it was. But I remember I haven’t thought about in a while, but unsurprisingly, from Greta is profound. Because it really, it is very true. And maybe that’s what I need to latch on to, with my struggle with keeping to my own boundaries, is to remember what the outcome of the boundaries is. Because telling me you know, if we get into marketing speak, I know what the feature of the boundary is. And I know what the benefit of the boundary is. But I tend to forget about the outcome, that long term picture. And that’s where I can where I go astray. And maybe that’s what I need to do. Because if I put it on my calendar doesn’t really matter. I’ll override my calendar. I do it all the time. And I’ve just never found a way to get myself to stick to something. If I’m not if I don’t have outside accountability, like Kathy was talking about. Resistance is very, very rare. So if I, you know, and it can be just, yeah, somebody in the family, somebody I live with, who just says, Well, you told me you were going to do something? Well, if I tell somebody, I’m going to do something I will. The only boundaries that I break are, are the ones that I said. In the promises, either Yeah, I don’t break promises. Unless they’re to myself. Yeah. So yeah, I’m gonna try that, I’m gonna start to see if I can reinforce my outcomes. No, you’re doing this because of this other thing that’s really important.

Kathleen Fealy 23:32
I think the outcomes also help inform how you will approach things to if you’re looking at the outcomes, like, for example, I know, I also to help my leg, I would be better if I lost some weight. So I can try to eat healthier, but if I cook the food, I’m going to definitely pay more attention to what ingredients I’m using, etc, etc. But I think it’s because I’m looking at like, what’s the next step? And what do I have to do to get that there? And I think that, if I would have done that in my business earlier, I would have had a better chance have even, you know, I mean, I would talk to the client about boundaries, but I wouldn’t even really think about that. If we don’t agree here. What’s next? Like, what what’s the outcome? Can I keep going? Or should I, you know, say well, then, you know, I’ll give you another 30 or 60 days, and then I need to leave because the what’s next is that it wasn’t going to be good for me. It’s not just setting the rule or the structure. It’s the how’s it going to work out

Betsy Muse 24:49
as entrepreneurs. One of the things we don’t a lot of people think of the boundaries that they do set with other people and where Talking about boundaries that we set for ourselves. And I think the

the thing that is most important for me is to be a little more consistent with that boundary of what my work day is going to look like. And I, you know, yes, I have my my watch set to remind me to stand up and to breathe and to do all of these things. But I’m there, you know, I’m not as good at getting to the end of the day and saying, my workday is over. And a lot of that is because there’s something about feeling like I’m, I’m getting extra time, I get that second, when my mind clears, I know that the phone isn’t gonna ring. And I just feel like this piece. And then I feel like I can,

Kathleen Fealy 26:03
can work more, but I can’t do that seven days a week. And I think that’s where I always feel like this time is mine, I can do this, I can do whatever I want to with it. And sometimes it just needs to not be work. Even if I don’t think of it as work, even if I think it’s fine. I need to do something else. And so that is the boundary when I think about it, you know, that is the boundary that I disobey more than any other. I’m pretty good with other boundaries. And like I said, I’m in the process of setting them. But a lot of times when the work that I’m doing is just for me, I get too excited. And all of a sudden, it’s two o’clock in the morning, I’m like, Ah, I’m too old for this, I need to go to bed. I’m happy. I mean, it was it and I love it. But no, I should have gone to bed a long time ago, you know,

I think it’s so easy, because I’m like, I get a second wind. And I can work in the evening till like, one two o’clock in the morning with no problem. Not a great morning person is all of you know, but if I get up by 930 10 o’clock, I’m raring to go again. So I know, it’s it’s just my clocks shifted. But it’s not necessarily good that I do that or did that. And, and to me, I was like, I wasn’t breaking a boundary at that point. Because it was like, as you said, it was energizing this your time you didn’t have people emailing you or calling you or anything you really could focus. So it was felt like a luxury. But the truth was it still that because it was still focusing just on a project, even if it’s your own business, and you’re focusing just on growing your business, or, you know, getting the work done that you need to in your business and communicating with your clients and all that stuff. All that needs to be done. But it needs to be done in balance now. And that’s still going to be a real struggle. I think this whole thing with boundaries and balance are so connected, for me at least. And I think it’s going to be something we’ll probably revisit quite often because I think as we started the conversation, we always seem to be coming back to it. We seem to get control over it a little bit. And then some it shows up in a different way.

Molly McBeath 28:39
Do either of you have practice boundaries? Because I’ll tell you what I mean by that, because I just realized that I think I have had some practice boundaries in the last year that that I’ve been successful at. And I should give myself credit for, um, where I’ve been because we were talking about, you know, the networking in the evening that the phone doesn’t ring. And then I realized that I have gotten really good finally at not at ignoring phone calls, because I have we don’t get a ton of phone calls. But I mean, I rarely need to talk to a client on a phone on the phone. And if a client calls I will answer but other than that I pretty much I don’t answer the phone. So maybe I need to also practice that idea as well just like you know, adding one boundary at a time. My energy into the next boundary okay, I’ve gotten that one down. Okay, now what’s the next boundary? Maybe that’ll also be an approach that will work for me since clearly telling myself not to do something does not work.

Kathleen Fealy 29:52
Yeah, now, none of us are very good at listening to ourselves.

Molly McBeath 29:55
Well, but if you were would you be an entrepreneur Is it part of our just natural makeup? I don’t know, I would think that that would be something that a lot of entrepreneurs would not be particularly good at, because that’s part of the drive that makes you an entrepreneur.

Kathleen Fealy 30:16
I’ll head nodding going on. That’s just looking very thoughtful with your head nod, though.

Molly McBeath 30:22
Yes, pensive off?

Betsy Muse 30:25
Well, now it’s head nodding and dog barking, and it’s very difficult to record a podcast with the dogs that I have. So I think I’m, I know that the boundaries that I have with clients, you know, previously, I was actually pretty good at enforcing things. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t have to worry about scope creep, things like that, because I learned over time, you know, and enforcing is probably the wrong word to use. It sounds heavy handed. But I learned how to navigate the client relationships. So that that wasn’t an issue. If there ever was an issue, it wasn’t the clients fault, it was mine. You know, I spent the extra time I was not asked or expected to. So it was not, you know, I did not have an issue with anyone who actively stepped over boundaries. It was always me. And I usually nipped that. Just recently, you know, like, in the past few years, it was when I was younger, and my entrepreneur days where it was a huge issue. You know, I just, I would spend way too much time on a small fee project. But now I just I think that part of it is that I am the person I have to say no to is me. And I don’t want to say no to me. Because he’s a nice person. This is just a new situation for me. And I have it’s not like I sat down and said, okay, that see your whole business is being restructured and now you have to set these boundaries. I didn’t do that with, you know, the first part of building my business. And I’m probably not I think these are things that I’m going to learn over time. But I definitely need to, I definitely need to, because this is a much freeform. You know, I don’t have deadlines for clients looming, I don’t have things like that this feels very much freer, which means that I need to set some boundaries and maybe some internal deadlines.

Molly McBeath 32:49
When you really do get to pick your own schedule, which is a rarity. How do you go about doing that effectively?

Kathleen Fealy 33:01
Yeah, and I think we’ve we’ve talked about theme days before. Yes, that those are wonderful boundaries. And I love my theme days, it’s the thing that whenever I finished a big project like that, I that’s what would bring me back to. Okay, this is what I do today, except that those theme days no longer work for my current situation. And I have not figured out how to create new theme days around what I’m currently doing. You know, we’ve talked about, you know, how we, there’s so much change going especially well, actually in all of our businesses, because there have been big changes for you over the past six months, Molly, and just recently for you, Kathy, and then for me. Um, so it’s gonna be interesting, even six months from now to check back in and see, you know, were we successful in setting new boundaries? And did this help Cathy’s you know, help and what boundaries Did you set personally that helped you? And if you’re really

interested to see if I stay doing what I’m still doing, my kids, my business evolves and just something else even right? I’m not really honestly sure at this point. Did any clients listening? Please still call me I’ll talk to you. But you know, I think the nice thing about our our podcast is that while we have talked a lot about business, especially this season, we did say it was about life and relationships and business. And I think it’s showing that everything does like affect things differently. Well, you’ve actually come very far this year with your boundaries because I know I read on different posts because we’re in groups together and stuff that you’d like held your boundaries with several clients where like you didn’t want to do last minute work and you didn’t I that helped freed up some of your, like, you wanted to be able to help give it that kind of stress.

Molly McBeath 35:07
Yeah, that has been very successful. So that was another like, let’s, I’m going to talk about this way in advance of it coming up with a client so that they understand, I’m just not going to do this particular type of work, I’m not going to do rush work, I’m not going to do quick turn turnarounds, on no notice. And they have all been really good about respecting that, which has been awesome. I love my clients, they’re wonderful. And yeah, taking that step, when there was no pressure on me to do so was really helpful for me. And that made it easy to stick to the boundary. I think because I did it when there was no reason to do it or not to do it. So I just could talk about it with them without there being any, like subtext or pressure. And it’s been great to thank you for reminding me of that. I forgot about that, too. Now, I have gotten less work from some of those plants. And I think that’s probably why. But that’s okay, I’m fine with that just

Kathleen Fealy 36:23
opens up as people have reminded me that it opens up windows of opportunity for the future, that you just may not see that if you were doing what you were doing, you wouldn’t be able to say yes, later on. I think in some cases, we forget that because it’s so easy to get onto that cycle of doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing.

Molly McBeath 36:49
Yeah, that is a very seductive cycle. And yeah, it can be really difficult to pull your head back out and say, Wait a minute, is Is this what I want to be doing? Is it and often the answer is no, actually, which is part of the whole great resignation. So that’s another Yeah, another important way that boundaries contribute to your life. It’s helpful to me to remember that because then I can see the boundary as being something positive for myself rather than a negative of something like Oh, now I gotta go put in a boundary Oh, I’m gonna put in this boundary because it’s going to bring me this. This joy this peace is contentment. This balance coveted Oh. I’ll be acquiring like six months. Singing a better balance.

Or lack thereof still. Yeah, well, let’s let’s dream for that.

Betsy Muse 38:01
This has been Yes. But however, I’m Betsy Muse with my co host, Kathy Fealy and Molly MacBeath. This episode was written, edited and produced by the three of us. Our theme music is tourist and Puntacana, which is available through audio hero, the show’s website where we post show notes, transcripts and more information about us can be found at Yes, but however You can contact us through the website or email us at talkers at Yes, but however Thanks for listening.

Molly McBeath 38:32
It’s time for the disclaimer. The information opinions and recommendations presented on yes but however for general information only, and any reliance on the information provided in this podcast is done at your own risk. No part of this podcast should be considered professional advice. Any products or services mentioned on this podcast come from our personal experience and no person or company has paid for a mention our placement

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Betsy Molly Kathy

April 2022

S3, Ep 3 - Training Hacks

How does anyone find time to take additional classes or training…let alone practice their craft when running a business (or working for an employer)?

In this episode of Yes But However, we share our tips for fitting in the time to upskill.