When I decided to break from working for someone else I foolishly believed that those 8 hours were the only thing holding me back from running my business. They took up time, and energy, and yes, it was a different thing, but the hours I worked at an agency created a boundary—for my clients, friends, and family who all knew that I was at work. Fast forward a month. There are no shortages of texts, emails, requests, suggestions, referrals, calls, voicemails, and in-person conversations that happen at all hours of the day.  

I admit it, I no longer have boundaries. I am organized, I am strategic, but my phone, the internet, the clients are all with me every day and every where. 

So it turns out organization doesn’t mean boundaries. To-do lists don’t mean boundaries. The most work I got done in 12 hours was during the half of a day I decided to turn off my phone, chats, and disconnect from wifi. 

So here are rules for me to try:

  1. set office hours. I have not slept in yet, nor do I watch TV at home, I have disciple, but it’s 9pm, and I have eaten every meal at my desk since 9am today. No bueno. Get up, work hard. Clock out even if it’s just shutting the office door closed.
  2. set aside dedicated design time. I need days without interruption, travel, teaching, meetings. So far I have driven pretty much the same amount daily if not more because my clients are far away, I teach, and I say yes to meeting times in the middle of the day. I’m planning to be MIA on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 
  3. set the alarm. This has been actually working well. I love instagram, but rabbit holes are not going to pay the bills. I set alarms for 5-10 minutes of stretching so I don’t wander off to do laundry instead or read some junk online that is not worth my time in the end. I also do this to say, “ok in the next hour I will design this one label option” or “I’ll quote those jobs that I said I would do.”
  4. set aside time to learn. I signed up for skillshare not long ago, and want to take classes even if I don’t do the homework. Last week I took a class on mailchimp and it was so informative and fun. Can’t wait to send out my first newsletter next week. I need to keep up a class or two a week to stay informed and inspired. Thinking about implementing self-care Fridays: little to no work, learning, workshops, catching up socially with texts from the week. 
  5. set goals. I am great at to-do lists (I use asana) but they are not going far enough. I hired an accountant, who will be helping with goal setting and biz coaching, so I am excited to take things to the next level. I do want to finish my new websites and start the quarterly newsletter. Those are my two most immediate goals. 

Let me know how you set boundaries with work or family or life. What are your hacks?