Last week, I shared my personal journey with healthy work boundaries, including some non-negotiables in my own business (read that here). This week, I'm getting super practical on how to implement healthy boundaries in your work, for a work-life balance that sustains you.
Start as you mean to go on.
Starting with a new client?
Creating a new business partnership?
Or just starting out as a sole trader?
Be open and honest with your boundaries at every step of the way, from the get-go. Make them part of your contract, tell clients during your consultation, plaster it on your website.
It’s so much easier to be honest with your boundaries from the beginning, rather than have to backtrack later when you may have got yourself into some sticky situations.
Structure your business/work model around your boundaries
Want to be off every day at 3 to get the kids? That looks like not booking meetings in after 2, or getting an extra few hours work done on a Saturday morning whilst they’re being entertained by relatives, or scheduling your workday around priority tasks so what needs to be done is done.
Want to afford to have X amount of time off this year, or save X amount for something? You need to structure your price model to account for the necessary income - which means not undercharging, and saying no to clients who barter you on price.
When you’re clear on your must-have work boundaries, you can be super intentional with every single decision you make in your business and work-life to facilitate that.
Even if you’re not a business owner, this allows you the freedom to say no to any work opportunities that arise that aren’t willing to facilitate a healthy work-life balance for you. Many industries are wising up to the fact that more time doesn’t always equal more productivity (thank God), so stay strong and find the company that fits with you.
People 100% respect a polite no versus a flakey maybe.
Learn the polite “no”
This is by far the best thing you can do for yourself. Learn to gracefully, respectfully and thoughtfully say “thank you but no thank you” to an ask that doesn’t fit with you.
Whether it’s old friends inviting you to fork out your entire pay-check for their Spanish wedding, or a new client wanting to work with you outside of your normal work hours. If it’s gonna mean you bending over backwards and crossing your boundary to get there (working more, spending more/saving less, missing out on something that’s a priority) don’t be afraid to say thank you, but no thank you.
People 100% respect a polite no versus a flakey maybe. Don’t be that person who selects ‘Maybe’ on a Facebook invite and gives an “oops, sorry” the day before. Not cool.
And if it comes to a decision you’re weighing up - I like to think…if it’s not a f*ck yes, it’s a hell no. Follow your gut reaction!
Turn it off
Does this sound familiar?
“Ooh I’ll just get to this email”
“Aw but I really need to reply to that girl’s DM”
“Just 5 minutes catching up on what’s going on”
Then you look up, and 45 minutes have flown by.
You’re still feeling wired from the day, you’ve missed or skipped something you wanted to do, and anyone around you is probably pretty pissed off and bored, if they’ve not already left to do something better with their time than hang out with you and your phone!
If you can relate…just put it away. Sometimes I’ll leave my phone in the other room, or fling it to the end of the bed or the couch. It’s out of sight, out of mind, and I won’t be tempted to grab it and scroll. Even better - get it on airplane mode. Chances are, 99% of it can wait ’til the morning, so be here now and enjoy your down time.