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B071: How to set better boundaries

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What if being unproductive is partly caused by us not setting clear boundaries? (Or allowing people to cross them). Let’s get productive and talk about how to set better boundaries in your work and in your life.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Anne Adametz about how to revolutionize your to-do list, and it sparked this new idea for me.

There are times when we are putting out other people’s fires instead of staying laser-focusing on what is truly most important. Sound familiar?

Let’s talk about three ways you can create better boundaries that will help you get back to thriving. It’s all about:

  • Your time
  • Your clients
  • And when you’re on the go

Here’s a few simple tips on how to set better boundaries:

How to set better boundaries

Your time

When you begin to believe that time is your most precious commodity, trust me, things will dramatically change, for the better. Quick gut-check moment… do you think time or money is more valuable? Sure, money pays the bills. But when you have better control over your time and schedule, your life will feel richer. Ask yourself:

  • What lies ahead for you today?
  • Are there meetings other people have scheduled for you?
  • Phone calls you’d like to avoid?
  • Are you plowing through your email inbox full of other people asking you to fix things?

What percentage of your time today is solely yours doing things that YOU want to do, like:

  • Going to the gym
  • Strategizing next quarter’s plan
  • Meeting up with your favorite client for coffee?
  • Or simply sitting on a park bench in the sunshine, to just BE?

Set better time boundaries

To set better boundaries with your time, remember what your one primary business goal is this quarter (aka. that ONE thing you’re working towards). And ask yourself, “Is this thing bringing me closer, or further away from achieving it?”

If further away, can you delegate, drop or delay it?

When you’re scrupulous right from the get-go, you won’t book the meeting/call/appointment/task into your calendar in the first place.

When you are working at your highest vibration and laser-focusing on your higher yielding tasks, you are helping others in a bigger way too!

Your clients

It’s a misconception to believe you should be available to your clients 24/7.

That thought is based in fear.

“If I’m not available to them at all hours of the day, they’ll fire me and find someone else who is!” Lies, vicious lies! And actually, you’re doing your clients a disservice as well.

If you called your doctor at 7pm tonight for advice about a sore throat, and you got voicemail, would you fire your doctor?? No. You’d leave a message and expect her (or her nurse) to call you tomorrow morning, during business hours. The same goes if you’re a graphic designer. Or a wedding planner, a photographer or even a business coach like me.

Set up a system for communication

Communicate with your clients on how best to work with you, from day one.

It may include you setting a once weekly check-in call at the same day and time (say every Wednesday at 10am). This way, your client learns to batch their non-urgent questions on a list, and relay them on your weekly calls. This helps you to work more efficiently and keeps your inbox free of random one-question emails. It gives you a space to update your client on the progress you’ve made on their project.

Tell your client they’ve got up to 30 minutes each week for this check-in call, and it’ll help simplify their life as well. Some weeks, you might only need 5 minutes… others go for the full 30 minutes. Either way, it’s a system for communications that creates shared expectations and accountability. And that builds your client’s trust and respect in you, as a working professional.

… And when you’re on the go

I find that when I’m on the road–either traveling overseas or just away from my desk–my boundaries tend to go straight out of the window. Or at least, they used to. These days, I try to remember what’s most, most, most important to me when I’m navigating the 1000+ choices I make each day. It’s all about remembering your core values. This is important not only for your work, but for life.

When you forget your values, you move into auto-pilot mode, forgetting what you stand for and where you want to head. We all do it. I call it my ‘goldfish brain’, because every 7 seconds, I forget who I am and what I’m doing.

In those moments, bring yourself back to center, take a deep breath and say this simple affirmation:

“The choices I make today are in alignment with my deepest desires to nourish myself.”

Put yourself first

When you’re faced with a decision either big (“Do I say YES to that project?”) or small (“What am I having for lunch?”)…

  • Slow down your pace
  • Pause for a split second
  • Breathe…
  • And remember your WHY.

Resist the temptation to hit the big red F-it button and remember your affirmation:

“The choices I make today are in alignment with my deepest desires to nourish myself.”

And then decide.

One final whisper

No one else on the planet is going to uphold your boundaries until you do it first. Don’t expect others to even understand, or see your boundaries. It is your responsibility to communicate this. And it is their choice to respect and honor them… or not.

And if others don’t respect your boundaries, you’ve got to decide… is this a relationship that is still healthy, or one that needs to evolve onwards?

That’s especially hard, trust me I know, when it’s a long-time client and the money is good. Can you have an in-person meeting or lunch with them to get things back on track? Is this salvageable or too-far gone?

It’s up to you to decide because ultimately, one troubled relationship can seep over into other aspects of your work and life… and you don’t want that.

Boundaries are a good thing, and they help others understand the non-negotiable aspects of working with you. It defines the box, the communication flow, the workflow process, the everything.

Once you set better boundaries, you are responsible for upholding them. How you schedule your time, how you relate with others and how you live your life on the go. Call it self-discipline, or call it self-love. This one simple shift could radically change how you live your life from this point forward.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

If this thought of the day inspired you…

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Big thanks to our undercover superheroes at The Simplifiers Podcast that help us create these episodes for you – Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor. Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Janine Yardley, our Show Notes Editor. Lyden Yardley, our Director of Brilliance. Manminder Athwal, our Blogger. Our advisory board includes: Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice and George Mills. And I’m your host, Mary Baird-Wilcock. Thank you so much for listening and telling your peeps about us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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