Setting Boundaries when you work from home is probably the most important thing you can do for your business, your family and yourself.
Do any of these descriptions sound like you? If they do it is probably time for you to set some boundaries:
- Workaholics: never get off the computer and loved ones feel neglected and begin to resent their business
- Doormats: family, friends, neighbors and others needs are always coming first and our business ends up getting pushed to the back burner… which means the income stops flowing and once again our loved ones feel neglected because we are not providing the financial support we are capable of providing, we get bitter towards our family and begin to resent them because we have no time to focus on our business. When we say yes to being the president of the board or heading the auction at our child’s school what are we saying no to? Free time with our families, time to work on our business, what else?
- Online Addicts: we become addicted to social media, forums, chat rooms, blogs, emails, IM, online networking and volunteering, we don’t know when to say no. We think we have to do this to build our business, we feel guilty being away from our computer, afraid we might miss something, keep volunteering, chatting, posting hoping it will turn into business… what it really turns into is all of our time being eaten away, no billable hours to show and a resentful family and quite possibly a feeling of isolation. I’m not saying that any of this is bad, but there has to be limits… if you are spending 8 or more hours a day doing this and seeing no income or getting behind on client work, feeling overworked and stressed and know that your family is resentful, you may have a problem.
Before we can begin to set boundaries that are going to be of any success we first need to figure out our priorities in life.
Steps You Must Take to Run a Successful Business from Your Home
1. Know your goals and see where you want your business to be today and in the future
Knowing what you want is necessary before you can begin to set boundaries and limits. Do you know where you want your business to be in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years from now? How much money will you be making? How many hours a week will you be working? How much flexibility do you want in your schedule? What services do you offer? If you don’t know the answer to these questions…then before you do anything else you need to stop right now and take the time to figure it out. Sit down and brainstorm, write the story of your dream business. After you write your story, go back and read it and think about what steps you need to take to get to that point.
2. Figure out what your boundaries and limits are
Now that you know what you want and what you need to do to get it, you need to determine your boundaries. How are others going to respect your boundaries if you don’t even know what they are?
For instance, if you can’t get anything done because your kids or significant other’s needs always come first… you need to set some boundaries with them. This goes both ways, if you are neglecting your loved ones and spending all of your time on your computer you need to set some boundaries with your clients, colleagues and yourself about when work time is and when it is not.
Do you have office hours set so your clients know when it is okay to call and when it is not? Do you have certain times set aside when it is your time to work so your kids know not to interrupt you during that time (unless of course it is an emergency)?
3. Let everyone know your boundaries – communication is key!
- Be prepared to repeat your new rules frequently to your kids, your significant other and your clients. They have all been used to the old you… it will take them some time to respect and understand the new you. Be patient and be firm.
- Visualize a big line that you draw so you know when someone is stepping over it
- Make a schedule
- Make a plan
- Create financial boundaries/limits
- Be consistent
Updated September 2013
Feeling overwhelmed? When was the last time you prioritized your to do list? Check out Sally’s new booklet: ABCs & 123s of Getting Stuff Done
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