For most small business owners, setting boundaries working from home feels like a challenge, right?!! All those distractions, people interrupting you because ‘well, you’re there’. Yet you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are when you set boundaries.
ARE YOU READY for the 3rd and final part of our little series on empowering self organisation to create more fun, flow and freedom in your business?
I’ll assume you’re saying YES, I want more ideas …so, let’s jump right into part 3 … and at the end, I’m sharing my free checklist so you’ll have a handy resource for all of the 21 practical ways you can improve your self organisation working from home.
You already learned the essence of decluttering your distractions. We kicked off with this in part 1, because organising your environment and personal or household chores will grant you more time to focus on your business.
But you also need a few rules to keep you and those around you understanding why just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you’re not working! So in part 2, so we looked at ways to reduce stress and conflict by having routines.
How did you get on planning that out?
Do you have some definite things you can start with?
If not, then that’s ok – at the end of this episode I’ll share a free resource you’ll be able to use as a checklist to make your self-organisation plan a lot easier.
Just think how nice and energised you’ll feel walking into your totally organised office, ready to tackle the day! You might already have these ideas set up, but it’s worthwhile to take notes and implement or revise as needed.
Getting good at self-organisation is a real game changer for protecting your head space, improving your work flow and increasing productivity for your business.
Now in part 3, we’re going to make sure your good intentions get implemented well, so our focus for today is on setting work from home boundaries. Boundaries are vital to ensure your homeworking is protected and your days flow smoothly.
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I want to share with you some ways you can start setting boundaries for working from home that will help you implement or strengthen your self-organisation plan. It’s not about being mean and denying access to you for the people in your life or ignoring messages. Neither is it about ‘learning to say no’. It’s about being clear in communicating when you’re available and able to be fully present outside of your business and family commitments.
So here are five ways you can create a less stressful business day by building clear boundaries for working from home.
Building Stronger Boundaries
Here are five ways you can build a less stressful business day by setting clear boundaries for your work whilst at home.
#1 – Set business hours
All businesses have set hours–and just because you work for yourself or your business is completely online doesn’t mean you have to be working 24/7. Likewise, you’re totally in control, if you want to take a two hour break part way through the day to do family things – just plan for it, as much as you can.
Set business hours – and stick to them! When your brain becomes accustomed to when you’re working and when you’re not, you’ll find it easier to get started in the morning and to shut down at night. You can even put this information into your Google Calendar and share it with your family, so they know when you’re in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Share your business hours with friends, too, so they’re not calling or messaging you to chat for hours during the productive parts of your day.
#2 – Give everything in your office a home
If you don’t have a designated spot for something, find one. This will also make the daily 15-minute cleaning of your office a lot easier. Do you REALLY need photos or mementoes cluttering your desk space? Use your vertical wall space to hang up vision boards, photos, inspirational quotes, and awards. Bookcases also work well to store those sentimental items.
There’s a saying that’s attributed to Albert Einstein, although I think it came from someone else in fact – An organised desk is an organised mind.
Anyway, Einstein had a very cluttered desk by all accounts and it’s spurred some very interesting research on the links between clutter and intelligence. One would expect some of Einstein’s superior intellect to have designed all manner of organisational tricks and systems to keep his brain as clutter-free as possible.
Einstein apparently said: If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? I don’t think decluttering is about keeping a clean desk. But the messy ones will argue that a lot of intellectuals use space to organise information and even though it looks disorganised, they know where everything is!
In some cases, a messy desk may be a sign of genius. But for most it’s more likely hindering rather than helping our productivity.
#3 – Embrace minimalism
Do all the books on your bookshelf serve a purpose or have special meaning to you? Do you have an old printer or shredder that you don’t use or doesn’t work? Give yourself permission to throw those broken items out!
Donating unused items is noble but be honest about whether or not you have the time to list things on Facebook Marketplace or will these things sit in a corner of your office, making the clutter even worse?
#4 – Create a routine to transition from “business time” to “home time”
This routine is especially important for those with a home office and/or laptop. What can you do at the end of each workday to signal it’s time to switch to at home mode?
Many people find it beneficial to look ahead to tomorrow’s calendar to notice any meetings or project due dates. Take this time as well to prioritise your top 3 activities and schedule time for them if you haven’t done so already.
If you’re more of a ‘to-do’ list person, start your ‘to-do’ list for the next day before you shut the door tonight. And enforce those business hour boundaries so you can be fully present with your family and/or friends instead of being distracted with business stuff and ‘things on your mind’.
Here’s a sample routine that won’t take a lot of time but will prepare you for a relaxing evening without work:
- Light a candle
- Meditate for 5 mins
- Clean your desk for 15 mins
- Turn off your computer and put it away or close your office door
#5 – Switch off notifications on your mobile phone
This last one is becoming harder and harder as we all seem to be connected and ‘on call’ more and more as our lives are increasingly digitalised.
If you can, refrain from ‘blue light’ at least 30 minutes before you go to bed – an hour if you can handle it. It can take a fair few days to feel benefits kick in, but you’ll see how much difference it makes to how you feel as your head hits the pillow.
Compartmentalise Your Finances
Finally, let’s talk about money. Because money talk is often a stressor for people – and couples, and business partners. Many people have got good at creating boundaries around finance conversations that aren’t helpful. They internalise a lot of worry and anxiety about money. But knowing exactly how much money you’re earning and how it’s being spent is critical to staying out of debt and running a profitable business.
Creating separate budgets for home and business is a must; otherwise, you end up spending and spending without any real understanding of what things cost or what’s attributed to the business.
Without this basic knowledge, you’ll live paycheck to paycheck so to speak – or more accurately invoice to invoice – and get stressed every time a bill comes due.
If you already have a budget in place, take some time to look it over and be sure the prices haven’t increased. If not, get started now with sorting out all your expenses and earnings. It’s a must for making life more fun, flowy and happy!
#1 – Use a budgeting software so you can “see” where your money is going each month
Mint is a popular choice and can be accessed via desktop and smartphone. You’ll find dozens of other budgeting apps so do some research and choose the one that fills your needs. Knowing exactly how much you have to spend at any moment will help you make better purchasing decisions.
#2 – Automate as much of your finances as possible
Bill payments, subscriptions, retirement savings, and other investments are easy to set up. However, still keep track of which bills are due on which dates so you don’t run into overdraft problems or additional fees. Setting it and forgetting it saves time unless you don’t have the money in the account when these payments are due.
#3 – Set savings goals
Experts tell us that having an emergency savings fund is extremely important so you can provide for your family in the event of a catastrophic emergency or loss of a major contract.
Have you figured out exactly how many months YOUR savings account would last with your current expenditures? Set your savings goals and then set up an automatic transfer with your bank that takes this money right out of your revenue.
#4 – Consider opening a retirement account or other investment account
Retirement is never as far away as it seems and the more time you have to plan for it, the better off you’ll be. A financial advisor can help you determine how much money you should aim for as well as setting up a retirement or investment account. They are also willing to answer questions as they arise and should offer an annual review of your account to determine if you’re on track with your goals or if something needs to be changed.
#5 – Implement “Financial Fridays” with your spouse or partner
If you aren’t the type of person who is checking their bank accounts every day – or if you are the one who pays all the bills each month – try setting up a weekly “money date” where you check all your bank accounts, figure out how much you have, how much came out this week and how much will come in and out the next. This will give you peace of mind as you go about the following week.
Implement an Ideal Weekly Schedule
You probably can’t implement every single routine or idea here right away but what you can do is set up your ideal weekly schedule. Have you ever done the exercise called Your Ideal Day? This is where you put on your daydreaming hat and dream about what you would do on your ideal day that would make you happy and joyful. What would make you jump out of bed and get ready to start?
This exercise is quite similar but it’s more grounded in your current reality. Here, you’re examining your week and all the tasks you think HAVE to get done. This schedule includes carved out time for each area of your life that’s important to you. This is how you’ll make sure all these routines you want to put into place actually happen (at least more often than not).
Here’s how to get started setting an ideal schedule for your week:
- Track your time every day for a week. You’re going to make note of everything you do in a week. Seriously – write it down, use a timer app like Toggl or Clockify, or put it into Notes or on a Google Sheet.
- Review your list at the end of the week. Which of these tasks MUST be done without fail each week? What tasks did you not get to this week, that you’d like to in your IDEAL week?
- Examine WHY some tasks didn’t get done. If you get bored or found yourself procrastinating, there’s an important reason why. If these tasks are vital to your business success, consider outsourcing to a VA or other specialist so you can get them off your desk.
- Develop an ideal weekly schedule in your Calendar or your favorite calendar/planning app. Block out time for it all: meal planning/prepping, cleaning, self-care, home tasks, business tasks, etc. Do your best to estimate how much time each one will take and then revisit in future weeks. Once you get the hang of meal planning, for instance, chances are high that you won’t need to spend as much time on that task, thus allowing for more time doing business-related work or free time with your family.
- Do your best to follow your schedule each week. Tweak as you go along and accept that life happens, and you might have to make a large pivot sometime.
After doing this for a week or two, if you still feel overwhelmed after this Ideal Week exercise, prioritise which of these routines is most important to you at this moment and focus on that.
I use an easy-to-remember method I call the 4Ds – Do, Delay, Delegate, Delete.
These five parts to tracking time like this in my calendar allows me to make decisions all the time about which of those four applies to any given task – it’s how I get so much done over the week. It’s super important – I’d say it’s my super power!
Approach this method in a way that will help improve your life, not stress you out even more. If you decide to set business hours and eliminate all distractions during those times, then focus on doing that for as long as it takes to create a new habit (that timing differs for everyone). For example, test out your business routine for a month before considering adding a new routine.
Likewise, if you already have one of these routines in place, continue with that and add something small, like a morning or evening routine. Or simply commit to washing and cutting your produce each week. These options can start small and if you feel the need, you can add more tasks to the routine at a later date.
When setting boundaries for working from home, it’s not just you who has to adjust, it’s your family and friends around you too. So don’t go heavy all-in laying down the law, it won’t feel good. Say you need to make a few changes and other things will happen gradually over time. Seek their understanding on the basis that having clear boundaries should improve things not just you or your business, but for everyone all round.
I’m going to finish up sharing how you can get a free self organisation checklist
21 Super Power Tips to Create more Fun, Flow and Freedom in your Business
Now that you’re ready to organise your life, home, and business routines for a less stressful and distracted life, let me tell you about a special opportunity to use this self-organisation to get a head start on your 2023 business goals.
I’m opening up the Leveraged Business Accelerator for those of you who have been asking about working with me and want to get started in January. You’ll kick off with a super focused strategy call where we’ll explore your goals and set your sail. From there, we’ll be co-creating your 90-day action plan.
Those who have worked with me in this intensive know it’s their best chance of getting things done, and achieving way more than they would or have been going it alone. Business strategy and accountability are two things that are often missing for many of my clients who are sole traders, or solo entrepreneurs.
And I’ll blow my own horn for a moment… I’m very good at strategy and action planning, which coupled with getting great results for my clients means you could finally get out of a cycle and start achieving what’s truly possible for your business.
By kicking off with a strong strategy conversation, you will be certain that you’re focusing your time and energy on the right things that will really move the needle in your revenue and vision of success.
And what better way to jumpstart 2023 than enrolling. It’s be application only – and I’m only taking 4 people, 5 if I get great candidates. You book a free strategy discovery call first of all and we can talk through whether this is right for you, and if you’re ready for acceleration.
This is how you can get momentum going early in the new year. It’s going to keep you focused on the right things to move your business forward, and help you stay accountable to getting stuff done. We work together super closely.
Once we have your strategic plan pinned down, we meet weekly to go through the detailed implementation, deal with questions that come up, brainstorm and problem solve any issues, whether mindset or mechanical/technical, celebrate successes along the way. It’s a partnership.
If you’d like to chat through where you’re at, and whether LBA is a fit – or just to experience what it’s like to have me as your Business Coach, now it’s time to book a call. Because I genuinely don’t have many slots open for these appointments because I’m also doing strategy calls with my Mirasee coaching clients in January.
Go to my website jayallyson.com – click on the Contact me page right now, and choose the first option for a Free Business Accelerator Strategy Discovery Call. It’s a 30-minute call and you’ll be amazed how much clarity you’ll get from our conversation.
Again, I’m only taking on 4 to 5 personal clients for the next 90-day Accelerator, so if you want to coach with me and see how fast you can go with my support – let’s hop on a call, find out where you’re at and where you’re stuck, and get you focused on what’s going to propel your business over the next few months.
Let me know how you got on developing your self-organisational super powers.