As an entrepreneur who works from home, it is very important for me to maintain certain boundaries in order to protect my time, energy, mental health, and relationships and so I can put my best into both my career and my personal life. This is something that I have refined over the years since I started working from home full-time as of March 2020 (as many others did!) In this episode, I’ll be sharing the specific boundaries I personally maintain to achieve work-life balance.
In this episode, you will learn:
- 8 clear examples of boundaries I maintain as a work-from-home entrepreneur
- How I organize my calendar to help maintain healthy boundaries
- The ways I communicate my boundaries to ensure they are clear
Related episode: I Have High-Functioning Anxiety (What I Do About It): https://www.becalmwithtati.com/manage-high-functioning-anxiety/ https://youtu.be/ojiNdtS8T5E?si=SolciIMPIS1byULB
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As an entrepreneur with two businesses who works from home, it is very important for me to maintain certain boundaries to protect my time, energy, mental health, and relationships. And so I can put my best into both my career and my personal life. This is something that I have refined over the years since I started working from home in March 2020, as many others did.
In this episode, I’ll be sharing the specific boundaries that I personally maintain to achieve work life balance.
Welcome to Calmly Coping. My name is Tati Garcia, and I’m a licensed therapist and coach specializing in high functioning anxiety. I help high achievers stop putting themselves last so they can feel more calm, balanced, and confident from within. If this topic interests you, then please like, subscribe, and hit the notification bell so you’ll be notified every time I release a new episode.
Thank you so much for tuning in. Okay. So to share a little backstory of my journey through entrepreneurship, I started with a private practice. I actually started part time private therapy practice while I was still working a full time job back in 2018. And then I eventually quit that job and went into private practice full time.
And then starting in 2020, I started my second business, which is my coaching, online course, and community business. And that has been going strong since 2020. So, starting in March 2020, of course, was when I started working from home full time due to necessity. You know, I could no longer see my clients in person.
I used to have an office space, but I no longer do. And once I realized that most of my clients actually preferred doing virtual sessions and my lease was coming to an end on my office space. I realized that it was a great opportunity to go into working from home full time. And so that’s what I have been doing since September 2021.
So it’s been about two and a half ish years. I started off just working in my bedroom during lockdown and now luckily have been able to have my own office space that is devoted to work. So here are the boundaries that I personally set and keep in mind, this is my personal experience. Obviously you have a different life, you have different responsibilities, different experiences.
So I encourage you to take what resonates with you and take what works for you from this episode and leave the rest and try to see how you can take what works. and fit that into your personal lifestyle and your personal needs. So first, what I do is I set work hours for different tasks. I have basically blocked out my calendar.
So I know that during certain times I’m going to be doing email and administrative tasks. During certain times I’m going to be doing marketing tasks and content creation. And during certain times I’m going to be meeting with clients or doing meetings with colleagues or podcast interviews. I only allow potential and current clients to schedule times during certain slots in my calendar that I have already predetermined.
When I first started, I would allow scheduling at any time. And that’s because I just wanted to get anybody in through the door. And the more that I’ve been doing this, the more I realized how important it is to protect my time and energy and to work according to hours that fit my personal needs.
Setting aside certain blocks of time on certain days of the week allows me to know that these are my client days, these are my non client days, these are my content creation days, or these are my planning days, or whatever it might be. And so I personally will set aside three days per week for client days, and then one day per week for kind of miscellaneous business planning, marketing tasks, any sort of other things that I need to do, any kind of course or content creation that I need to do.
And then that extra day during the week will be either for overflow or my goal is working four days per week this year. And so that’s something that I’m really working hard to maintain. And these are boundaries that I teach my clients and students, to set specific times for different tasks depending on when you’re going to have the most energy and focus and when you’re going to be able to best devote your attention to those specific tasks.
And so you can also know what to expect. Another important thing that I do is set clear start and end times for the workday. Even though I’m not punching in and punching out according to somebody else’s schedule and to get paid by the hour, I am treating my work as though it is that. And I’m saying, okay, today I’m working from 10 a.m to 6 p. m or 11 a. m to 7 p. m or whatever my schedule is and I’m really trying to respect those hours because otherwise I know that it’s super easy for me to work into all hours of the night and not respect those boundaries that I need to take care of myself to actually wind down and to enjoy my life.
It’s not to say that my work isn’t enjoyable however I know that personally it’s important for me to have those boundaries and to have that balance so that I’m not burning myself out from too much work. I will also time block my calendar for specific categories of tasks. So shallow versus deep work.
This is from the book, Deep Work by Cal Newport, which we’re actually reading in the Calm & Ambitious Community, which is my community for high achievers with high functioning anxiety for our February book club meeting. So if you’re interested in joining us and reading that book with us. You can check out the link in the description to the Calm & Ambitious Community.
But from that book, he shares the concept of shallow work versus deep work. And so I personally will schedule out time for shallow tasks and deep tasks in my calendar depending on what that might be for the specific day or week. Another boundary that I set is scheduling time for self care. So ensuring that I’m taking time to take care of myself and my needs.
This is through a morning routine with meditation, exercise and gratitude and an evening routine where I’m winding down from the day. I try to make an effort to go outside as much as possible since I am inside my house most of the time. And it’s so easy to slide into the difficulty of leaving the house when you work from home.
And this is super important to make that time to step outside, to get out of the house, because when you’re inside too long, that’s not good for your mental health. And it’s going to make it easier to avoid going out in the future. I also set tech boundaries. So I will put my phone on silence when I’m especially meeting with clients and during meetings, because I don’t want to be interrupted.
And I want to respect their time. I will also silence my phone during work hours, during focus task or sometimes I’ll just leave my phone outside of my office and like on the kitchen table and then just check it during breaks or in between sessions. And if let’s say you have children or you need to be contacted for emergencies you can certainly set exceptions when it comes to putting your phone on do not disturb so that certain calls will still come through.
So you can still block most notifications but still be connected if there is something that is important that needs your attention. I also don’t have any work email on my phone. I have no email notifications or anything like that. I specifically set aside checking my work email and checking my work social media for my computer because this is personally what works for me, and I like to have that separation where I’m doing work.
in my office as much as possible and not when I’m on my phone. I also set clear expectations with my clients and will set boundaries and let them know when they can expect to hear from me, how they can communicate with me between sessions if they need to reach me. If I’m going on vacation, how they can get in touch with me.
This not only sets expectations for what my clients can expect, but this also sets and relieves barriers. pressure and anxiety for myself that I don’t have to feel like I constantly need to be connected. But I’ll let my clients know, okay, I typically don’t check my email on weekends. So if you need to get in touch with me, then it’s best to send me a text or a message.
I also set location boundaries. And so that means that 95 percent of the time when I’m working, I will only work in my office. And this is to distinguish between working space and then relaxing space. So I’m not combining the two. In the past I used to do a lot of work on the couch watching TV and I found that not only was that dividing my attention and making it harder to focus on work, but then that was also making it harder for me to stick to those boundaries.
And I felt like I could just work at all hours and that I should be working at all hours. And ultimately that wasn’t helping me feel accomplished because I wasn’t feeling like I was getting anywhere and it felt like I was just. working on the never ending to do list rather than setting clear expectations for myself day by day.
There are of course exceptions so if I’m really low energy and I don’t feel like working sometimes a change of scenery will help me focus and those are the times where I may bust out the laptop on the couch or do something like go to a coffee shop to help me to get that focus. I will also schedule time off in advance and so this is whether it is a vacation, a staycation, a day off, a day to spend with friends or family.
I, as much as I can, schedule that time off in advance. This is to also respect the time of my clients so that I can let them know in advance I’m not going to be available to meet this week. And it’s also so that I can know what to expect and know when I have to work ahead in order to account for that time off.
And this also allows me to plan coverage for my community and for certain podcast episodes or other things that are going out with my team, so that I can be sure that things are being covered while I’m out so that I don’t feel worried that things aren’t being addressed. boundaries and set clear expectations for myself is by simplifying my to do list.
So I could be doing so many things, not only to support my clients and students, but also to market and grow my business. There is a plethora of like a million different things that I could be doing. And in the beginning, especially, I felt a lot of pressure to be doing all the things that I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough.
And now I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realized that it’s better to focus on one thing at a time and to be really intentional and consistent with what I’m choosing to do rather than trying to do all the things and feeling like I need to do it all now. Not everything is going to be Perfect, or exactly the way that I want it to be in my business.
However, that is a trade off that I need to make in order to respect my time and the fact that I only have a limited amount of time and energy to focus on certain things. And I’m focusing on doing things the best that I can in this moment and not beating myself up for all the things that I could be doing or should be doing differently.
And I focus on being consistent with what I’m doing now and adding more when I’m ready. And what helps me with that is also, you know, once a year I will do my planning for the year and I will also check in each month and assess, okay, how am I doing towards my goals and how am I doing with my numbers and all of that so that I can be sure that I’m on track or maybe there’s things that need to change or maybe I get inspiration and motivation to do something new and I will add that onto things that I want to try.
So those are some simple ways that I set boundaries to ensure that I’m respecting my time and energy and maintaining work life balance. Okay. as an entrepreneur who works from home. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If this applies to you, whether you work from home, whether you own a small business, or whether you are employed full time, how do you set boundaries in order to respect your time and energy and mental health?
And in order to maintain work life balance, or are there ways that setting boundaries are difficult for you? You can leave a comment below if you are watching on YouTube, or if you are listening to the podcast on Spotify. And if you are looking to dive deeper into this topic, I have a free training on how to create work life balance and feel calmer as a high achieving professional without compromising your success.
In this free training, I walk you through my three phase. process to help you to create work life balance and feel more calm, balanced, and confident from within. You can learn more about this training and save your spot by going to CalmlyCoping.com slash workshop. While you wait for next week’s episode, I have another episode that I think you will enjoy.
It is how I manage my high functioning anxiety. You can check it out here, or you can click on the link in the description or the show notes. And I also have other episodes about calming your mind, creating work life balance and feeling more confident from within. Thank you so much for tuning in today and until next time, be calm.
Until next time…