My mastermind coach recently instructed the group on setting boundaries.
The strategy was not only for business hours but also for personal time.
In 27 years of business, I’ve never thought about my practices being labeled as boundaries. It’s always been discipline for me, but whatever its name, the discussion allowed me to realize the strengths that are productive and weaknesses that need addressing or total elimination.
Here’s five areas I’ve identified and recently shared with a person online who’s new to working at home.
1. Set up your work hours and stick with it as rigidly as possible.
My hours are 9:00 – 5:30 pm. I recall the early Internet days when I worked past midnight, often until 2:00 am. I don’t know if it’s my age or wisdom (possibly a combination), but I refuse to sit in my office for those long hours ever again. It was acceptable at the time when the Internet was new, and we were all grasping the technology. Today, if what I need to achieve isn’t done by 5:30 pm, it waits until the next day.
2. Build in breaks as part of your schedule.
My two break times are 20 minutes long, anywhere between 10:15-10:45 and 3:00-3:30. This pause allows me to stop, stretch, and then continue my progress. Lunch is 45 minutes from 12:30-1:15. In that time I let Mae and Pepi bark and romp outside in the backyard while preparing our meals. I usually watch a comedy on Netflix and keep a pen and pad handy to jot notes that always come to mind when away from my desk.
3. Don’t set foot anywhere outside of the office except for breaks (no laundry, no TV, etc.).
I don’t touch anything (outside of finding something on the floor that goes into the trash) that doesn’t lead to revenue. Everything can and will wait for my work day to end. Thankfully, this boundary has been with me since I opened for business in 1990. That discipline continues today.
4. Be grateful that commuting is not part of your routine.
It seems that most times, when escorting my mom to a doctor’s appointment, the traffic on major roadways is crawling due to construction or an unfortunate vehicular accident. This is doubly hazardous during so-called rush hours. I try keeping my cool because my mom appreciates my help, and being on the road is not an everyday occurrence. I don’t know how regular commuters tolerate the backups but am glad it’s not my lifestyle.
5. Repel distractions that interrupt your work hours (no neighbor chats, personal phone chats, etc.).
Outside of the occasional doctors’ visits mentioned in No. 4, distractions are not part of my work hours. Even Mae’s and Pepi’s barking does not interrupt my flow. Such a boundary starts with this: you must train people to respect your time as much as you must learn to respect it. Activate your landline or cellphone’s do not disturb switch. If you’re not expecting someone at the door, don’t answer. Schedule as many personal appointments as possible in the evening.
The book, Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business, shares more boundaries and business insights for your success.
Creating and staying within boundaries has endless rewards. All of the marketing you’re able to accomplish leads to more connections, sales, referrals, and stronger business relationships. Isn’t that better than watching a television show (it’s funded through commercials) or visiting the refrigerator (your waistline shows the results)?