Setting boundaries for business and life success; why it matters
Setting boundaries for business/life success includes, but is certainly not limited to, having set work hours, planning for all things business/life, and learning to say, “no.” When most entrepreneurs start their business they feel they have to do it all alone saying yes to everyone and working 24/7, but with strategic planning success awaits and avoiding burnout is completely possible! What I’ve learned from being in business 24 years is if I’m not living my vision I’m not in alignment with who I am.
Keeping your business and your personal life in balance is imperative for the health of your family, your business, and yourself, and the best way to do it is to set boundaries. Did I just say “set boundaries?” You bet. If we don’t set and adhere to boundaries for business and life balance won’t exist in any part of our life. No rolling your eyes; if you want to have a balanced life – personal and business – it’s imperative to set boundaries. Believe me, all my life I’ve struggled with setting boundaries because who wants someone to be upset with them? I recently saw a quote which read:
The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.” ~HealthyPlace.com.
So how does one set boundaries for work and life? Forbes published an article on small business growth and the importance of setting work/life boundaries. Below are my three tips for setting and sticking to boundaries in order to achieve work-life balance:
- Set specific office/work hours and stick to them.
- Plan ahead for exercise, meals, and family.
- Realize “no” is a complete sentence.
Office hours and the importance of setting boundaries for business/life success
It’s great to say you’re open from 9:00-5:00 but a) are you sticking to those hours; and b) are you strategically planning your day? I was at my spinning class the other day and someone mentioned they have a business and work from their home office. This person mentioned they can’t accomplish anything regarding “home life” because work is always calling so the house is dirty, clothes aren’t cleaned, meals are fast food… I wanted to scream, “stop it!”
Yes, it can seem like a tug-of-war contest when you are pulled in all directions, but this is why setting up your office hours and sticking to them is both necessary and important. Work time is work time and home/family time is home/family time. If you were going to an “office” to work you wouldn’t be home to put a load of laundry in the washer/dryer, run a load of dishes, or clean the bathroom so wait until your workday is over and then think about your house chores and pay attention to your family.
Put a schedule on your calendar. For example, I map out my workday for each hour which looks something like this:
- 7-8 a.m. – meditate, exercise
- 8-9 a.m. – review emails and respond, daily planning with Peter
- 9-10 a.m. – complete revenue-generating activities – call clients or potential clients, schedule coffee or meetings
- 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – write
- 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m. – lunch
- 12:30-1:00 p.m. – review emails and respond
- 1:00-4:00 – client work
- 4:00-5:00 – end-of-day meeting; prepare for next morning
After my work hours are over it’s family/home life. Is it always easy? No, but when I’ve only concentrated on what’s next in my business I’ve gained weight, been irritable, and the list continues.
By setting your boundaries for office hours, you’re also letting your clients know what is expected of them. I love the saying, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” Period. And again, saying no may be hard, but respect yourself enough to say no thank you.
Setting boundaries for business, life, and family/home life planning is essential for happiness
Today’s world is full of obligations on everyone’s part, but planning ahead for meals, exercise, and family is important because you’re more likely to see it through when it’s on your calendar.
It’s very easy to leave thoughts about meals as the last thing to consider, but meal planning leads to a healthier/happier family life. I never use to plan ahead for meals because on Sunday I never knew what I wanted to eat on Wednesday. Since I’ve started planning ahead a few things have happened:
- We’re not eating at 7, 8, or 9 p.m.,
- I’ve lost weight, and
- We’re not grabbing fast food or grabbing a sandwich and chips
Again, it’s easy to say, “I’ll exercise after work,” or “I’m too busy” but I’m adamant about making sure I exercise at least five days a week. So, I plan it out for every day. I love to walk but when it’s cold outside I’ll go ride the bike at the gym, or I’ve started taking a spinning class at 9:30 a.m. one day a week so it’s a given – the time is marked out on business/personal calendars, and I make sure it happens. I’m setting boundaries during this time: no client meetings, no office meetings… I’m worth it and so are you.
Carving out family time can be a challenge, but it goes back to setting boundaries for you, your business, and your family. Do you want to have family dinners on Sundays? If so, schedule it; make it known to your family on Sunday from 4-7 is family time for dinner and talking… Communicate with them what’s expected. Maybe your family time is Friday game night or a weekend day of hiking. If so, let them know when, where, and everyone needs to be present (no phones, no texting). Whatever you decide for your family time set the boundaries so people know what to expect and there’s less chance of stress.
No means “no thank you”
When we realize it’s okay to say no and we’re okay with it, our stress levels decrease. Saying no to people and doing things I want is extremely hard for me, but for balance and my own sanity, I’ve learned it’s okay to say no to any situation or any person. I still have the occasional queasy stomach, but in the long run I’m much happier.
What is it you can and need to say no to: working on vacation because well, it’s just two hours, chairing the women’s social event of the year because you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, or not exercising because the house is dirty and needs cleaned? This goes back to planning and setting boundaries:
- let clients know when you’re taking time off and give them enough time to send projects to you and if they’re not on time, again, it’s their lack of planning and you are not going to miss your vacation;
- tell your friend you’d love to chair the event, but it is too time consuming for you at this point in your life;
- exercise is a nonnegotiable – nothing overrides exercise because if we don’t have our health we don’t have a business.
What is the vision you want to create for your business and family life? Work-life balance is an integrated approach.