Building a Business Boundary Plan: Run Business so it Doesn’t Run You

Let’s cut to the chase. If you want a long and healthy relationship with your business, you’ll have to establish boundaries around it.

Think of your business as a person. Do you want it calling you and texting you at 10pm? Do you want it to coerce you into work you’re not excited about? Would you want it to feel like it monopolizes all your time? I’m sure you’re saying, “Of course not,” but the truth is that without clear boundaries around how you conduct business and allocate your time resources to your business, you run the high probability of becoming resentful of your business. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a friend or partner in which you feel resentment, it’s really not fun. It makes you less than the best version of yourself, and that is no way to have long-lasting relationship with your business.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business 5 days or 5 years, you can begin to groom habits that help you stay in harmony with the dream you have for your business. Here are 3 areas to examine and develop plans for to help you maintain balance through boundaries:

  1. Task Boundaries- Make a list of all the day to day tasks you need to manage like social media, returning emails, writing reports, packaging items…ALL the stuff. Set designated times of the day to tackle each in order to prevent flitting from task to task and checking in on social accounts are emails which will wrangle you in for more than work (Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone down the rabbit hole of social media? We’ve all done it and regretted how much time got sucked into nothing productive). Stick to your deal with yourself of when you will do these tasks.
  2. Customer and Client Boundaries- Before we talk about what boundaries to set up here, let’s talk about why we struggle with customer boundaries. One word. Fear. Scarcity mindset feeds the fear that if we are not all things to all people when they “need” us, they will land with our competition. However you respond to people will set the tone for what people expect of you. If you do not want to be answering emails at 8pm on a Monday, when you’d rather watch The Bachelor, then determine you won’t. Set an autoreply email for after the end of your business day, if you’d like, or be really good at disciplining yourself to respond to after-hours emails as one of your first tasks the next business day. When I first started in business, I struggled with client boundaries for a few years. I was over-delivering thinking I was giving exceptional customer service. I was providing great service, but it was through unsustainable behaviors at the cost of fights with my husband and lack of “me” time. I came to realize I could still provide outstanding care to my clients but had to prioritize my priorities first, otherwise, I was training my clients to act like young children who were constantly in need of me. I’m a stickler now for boundaries around texts and emails to my clients. A little secret… I often draft back text or email responses on Sunday mornings, but I don’t hit send until 8am Monday morning. Why? While I worked the weekend for a couple hours perhaps to alleviate my Monday morning time, I do not want my customers perceiving I work weekends. Texts and emails received after 6pm relative to work go on the next day’s task list. Lean in and listen closely friend. You have to know something. You’re amazing at what you do, and you are a wonderful person to do business with. That is your sell. Your people will not leave you if you are responsive when you tell them you will be. They do not do business with you, because you reply to all their FB comments immediately. They do business with you, because you are reliable and they have the confidence you will follow through on communication according to when you say you will. Build your business on the value of you and your integrity.
  3. Personal Time- I should have listed this one first in order. When you go to schedule your week (I do mine on Sundays), you must put your needs on the calendar first, and then the other time is work time. I have a need for 30 minutes in the morning to drink my coffee and eat my breakfast. I might write or watch the news or read during this time, too. It’s non-negotiable. I know when my day does not start this way, I will struggle the whole day feeling aligned. Whatever is important for your personal inner balance, schedule first. A workout. A half hour lunch. A dinner date with a friend. Time to curl your hair or put on makeup and your best face forward. It may sound silly, but a swipe of mascara, a pop of lip color, an outfit I like, and good hair make me feel put together which boosts my confidence that no matter who I run into during the day or what Zoom meeting I end up on, I represent myself for my business in the best way. I put on perfume, even when I have a day of video calls. Why? It simply makes me feel good. Set yourself as a priority, and whatever you do, do not compromise your boundaries during YOU time for one more email or one more phone call. They can wait, but your mental health is always immediate.

If you want to shine and truly see your dreams reveal themselves, getting harmony and balance with your work and within yourself is one of the keys that opens the doors to fruitfulness and success.

This is as important a business strategy as any others I teach. It’s foundational and life-changing. I’m here to support your boundary plan and cheer you on, sister!

Dream Big and Shine On!

Geneva

SOS Please Someone Help Me

Two weeks ago, I was drowning in paperwork, meetings, writing, and coaching. Flailing. OMGee. Send me a life preserver.

I decided one Sunday evening that what I needed STAT was to create some margin in my time for the upcoming week. The tasks on my plate were all “have-tos,” so there was no putting off or choosing to not do one of them. Also, I’m a big believer in never compromising small self-care tasks like reading, journaling, or praying/meditating, so taking time away from my 30 minutes of me-time with my coffee was not an option.
As I mulled over my plight (anxiety), I had an “AHA” moment- social media had to go for 4 days of the workweek, and I would reenter FB land on Friday, when the week was coming to a close and my tasks were completed. I normally spend 10 hours a week alone on social media for my women’s networking group between content development, event planning and communication, and general engagement. Throw in my business page, and while I am not a FB junkie, I do like to catch up with the goings-on of the day that people post after the end of my workdays, so let’s say 13-15 hours a week is consumed on social media. Right there I found the time I needed. 13-15 extra hours is a lot of time for squeezing in more work!

So I did it. I fasted all but returning some messages that came through which were pertinent to respond. I found myself one day mindlessly clicking the icon on my phone and then had to exit out ASAP- it was totally subconscious like mindless eating. Some personal observations during my 4 days off FB,
1. Surprisingly, I felt an incredible sense of FOMO- the world was happening and I felt really disconnected. A friend had a baby, and I wasn’t one of the first to see her pics. Another friend was doing some cool things on her FB business page celebrating 5 years of business.
2. Although I felt like I was missing out on some exciting things, I also felt like I dodged being sucked into Latinagate post Superbowl and impeachment political posts. I didn’t miss the FB debates for sure.
3. I found myself feeling much calmer each morning not laying in bed and jumping on FB to see what I’d missed since I got off it the night before. I think millions of people worldwide do just that. I felt more at peace each morning and focused on my morning me-time centeredness tasks.
4. I really did create more time to get things done. We’ve become so accustomed to social media as a way of life and needing of our time, but until we go without it on vacation or a self-imposed fast, we don’t realize how much time it is taking from our lives. Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time I find good value in my interactions on social media, but the time away led me to deciding I needed to tweak my day to day consumption plan to at least sticking with the practice of not going on first thing in the morning. I didn’t do that perfectly last week, but probably 3/5 days, but on the three I did, I found that small slice of morning peace with my morning joe was much greater when I was disciplined enough to stay off the Book.

We’re all busy. We all need to make margin for inner peace and quiet, for exercise, or to get shtuff done. Where can you create time?