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May 13, 2019

Why boundaries are so important


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Why boundaries are so important


Do you put boundaries in place in your business and in your life?


Are people clear about what’s acceptable and what’s not?


This could be with employees or contractors that you work with.  


It could be with your kids.  


It could be with your spouse.  


It could be with your friends or other family members.  


It could be setting boundaries with yourself!

Boundaries are important


Regardless of which area of your life it is, boundaries are important and setting them as soon as possible will make it better all round for everybody.  


It will mean far less communication issues, less overwhelm, less resentment, nobody feeling taken advantage of, everybody absolutely clear on what’s expected.  

Much better than winging it right?


When you wing it is when people can make assumptions, deletions and distortions over the situation.


You can be on completely different pages when it comes to what’s been agreed and that’s when you have to have the potential awkward conversation,s or the sleepless nights, knowing you’re not happy with how things are.

What even are boundaries?  


Boundaries are essentially clear communication of ground rules.  


What’s acceptable and what’s not for you.


When you have your own business and even more importantly when you work from home, it’s important that they’re as clear as possible.


It’s very easy for people to think that because you’re at home that means you’re ‘available’ when we all know that’s not really the case at all.  


The constant interruptions mess with our flow right?  So it’s important to clearly communicate with loved ones.

Benefits of setting boundaries


Having solid boundaries in place decreases anxiety, decreases the likelihood of burnout and decreases stress.  


So this can only be a good thing, right?


Having boundaries creates structure.  


Everyone is clear on their job and THEIR responsibilities without having to venture into yours or step over the line.


Boundaries really do create mutual respect.


If you allow people to walk all over you they will.  It’s your responsibility to not let that happen. It’s all within your power, which is the fun part!  This is all changeable.

Where can you I set boundaries?


An easy one to start with is to set boundaries with people/potential clients/collaborators who email you.  


I have an auto responder on my emails that state when I will and won’t respond (working hours) and how long to allow for a reply and then gives them an ‘in the meantime’ call to action.  


It makes it clear for both of you.  


It means you don’t have to rush and reply to every single email that comes through, you won’t feel the need to constantly check all through the evening and into the weekend, it’ll give you a bit of headspace.  


The person on the other end will also know it may take you a little moment to respond, so they aren’t sitting there waiting.  Win win again.


Can you see a pattern emerging??

Team Members


Next, you can think about setting boundaries with new team members.


It’s best to set the boundaries early on in the relationship if you can.  


Written and agreed job descriptions are ideal and encourage a conversation and questions to make sure you’re both on the same page.  


If someone has already been ‘running amok’ in your business before the boundaries have been clearly defined then you could call a team meeting and set the ground rules from then on so as not to single anyone out.


The bottom line is they will either respect the boundaries or disagree with them.  


And if they disagree with them then they may not be the right team member for you in the long run.


Take some time and open a google doc or whatever you use and start writing down what’s important to you.  


What are your company values, what are YOUR values?  


What is a priority and what isn’t.


What is acceptable and what isn’t.


What are the responsibilities in each role? (client, staff member, child, spouse, you etc)


Think about your working hours and ‘uncontactable’ hours (and stick to them!).  


If you cross your own boundaries it’s far more difficult for other people to respect them.  


If you do need to make an exception, make sure it’s clear that’s exactly what it is, an exception not the rule.


Have a think about setting them right up front with clients and have them sign and agree to your terms.


What are your rules on no shows and rescheduling?  What are the consequences? Do you have a 3 strike rule?  Minimum 24 hours notice or they lose the session?


What are your rules on late payments?


Are you clear on how they can contact you and when?  


If you don’t want client calls or texts at all hours then don’t give out your personal number and be clear on when you will respond.


There are a tonne of different ways for clients to get in touch these days.


For example my 1:1 packages includes unlimited 24 hour access to me on an app called Voxer MEANING they don’t have my personal number but they can send me a message whenever they like.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week...that’s the point, to essentially have me in your pocket, to know you have somewhere to get what’s inside your head outside your the moment.


BUT, i’m super clear before they sign up that I only check and respond to messages between the hours of 9-7pm Mon-Fri and if i’m off out or on my holidays I let them know in advance.


Be clear on work that is outside the realm of your agreement.  


If you don’t set it all out to begin with you can see how much easier it is for people to take advantage.


At the end of the day it’s your time and your energy to manage.

Home Working


The next thing to think about is home working.  Ooooooh this can be tricky!


This can take a little while to implement but is imminently possible.


How could you set boundaries with your kids, spouse and loved ones?  It will be different for everyone.


Could you have a ‘closed door’ policy with the family?  When the door is closed (or even a fun sign on the door) you’re working and the less interruptions you get the quicker you can finish?


Can you have the ‘hard’ conversation with your spouse about how important it is that they respect when you’re working and how important your business is to you etc?  This really will be different for everyone so really ask yourself the question. What else could you do to set boundaries at home?

Finally, setting boundaries with yourself.


This is a biggie.  


Be super disciplined with yourself.  


With the  multi tasking, the phone notifications, recognise your patterns of procrastination, what hours do you absolutely not work?  


I used to work all hours, evenings, weekends.  Now I very rarely work at the weekends unless i’ve had other things going on and i’m being flexible with my schedule which is also important.


But I never work (apart from the occasional Voxer) on a Friday after lunchtime and that is a non negotiable for me.


These times are all set out in my scheduling tools too so people literally can’t book into my non negotiable hours.


What are your self care ‘policies’?


Ask yourself what boundaries you want to set with yourself.  


What do you want to be a regular part of your routine?  What is non negotiable with yourself?


This can all seem big and scary at first but once you build your processes and make sure there is a level of clear communication you will quickly see the shift.  


For you, your family, your staff and your clients.


Like I say, win win!


If you know that now is the time to start changing things for yourself and want to explore this further, have any questions or want some accountability to make sure you’re doing the things you need to then please book in a free discovery call so we can see what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the successful business owner you know you can be!! All the details are in the link below and I hope to see you on the inside.