Remote work has blurred the lines of work and personal life. Now more than ever, small business owners need to address what healthy boundaries look like for them—whether that’s signing off early for the day, taking a mental health day off, or saying “no” to a colleague, client, or friend every so often. If you don’t do this, you could risk losing sight of yourself, your own goals, or worst yet—raise health issues.
Why healthy boundaries are necessary
Healthy boundaries are fundamental to your happiness and wellbeing. If you don’t take care of yourself—mind, body, soul—how do you expect to take care of your business? One step further, how would your clients know that they can trust that you can take on their work?
As freelancers, solo-entrepreneurs, and small business owners, your mental capacity, brainpower, and total concentration stems from your ability to rest and recharge for the next day. That and of course, knowing what work to prioritize!
3 tips to start setting healthy boundaries remotely
Healthy boundaries can only happen if you define them and work consistently to adhere to everything within those confines.
Not sure where to start? Start by trying these tips:
Tip 1: Define your boundaries
Do you strictly work between 8:30 am to 5:30 pm each day? If so, make that show on your Slack using the Do Not Disturb (DND) mode, email, and whatever other communication channels you use. Unless it’s utterly an urgent and pressing client issue, there should be no reason you pick up that phone. It goes against your pre-defined boundaries.
Tip: Slack also has a notification schedule feature to give you full control over the hours in which you’ll receive notifications. It’s a handy trick that can payloads in dividends for your healthy boundaries.
Tip 2: Take breaks often, if you can
Do you take breaks? The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity technique that is used by millions that work in a 25-minute interval of work. Scheduling time for lunch (away from your computer) is key to defining healthy boundaries. Think of a break as a quick moment to “freshen” your mind. One-hour lunch breaks are a no-brainer, but so does a five-minute one to whip up a fresh cup of matcha!
Tip 3: Ignore the FOMO
As a small business owner, you don’t pond over sick days or vacation days like other employees. The great part about working on your own craft is the ability to work on your own terms and schedule.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real though. At times, it might feel like there’s always the next task to do after big project completion. But in reality, that task can wait. Reframe it this way: it’s actually the joy of missing out (JOMO). Bask in the feeling of signing off for the day to focus on what brings you joy.
If you worked hard to build your business from the ground up, don’t be afraid to take days off. You earned it! Take a mental health day, take a mini-vacation with the kids, or spend a day relaxing on a patio. You’ll be surprised at how much clarity it can bring to your work the next day.
Tip 4: See what you can delegate
Do you do the task, defer it, or delegate it? According to David Allen’s Getting Things Done, if a task takes 2 minutes to complete, do it.
But another big part of this is identifying tasks that you aren’t the best candidate to do. If it isn’t you, then you should either delegate it (give it to someone else that’s more suited for the task) or defer it (save it for later in your calendar or as a reference). If you have an in-house team of contractors available, find out what you can delegate to them instead to shave time back in your day for other things.
Delegating other aspects of your business, like accounting (and invoicing) can also be extremely useful in helping you set healthy boundaries during remote work. By adopting double-entry accounting software, you can speed up the amount of time you would normally need to put towards things like invoicing, expensing, and bookkeeping.
The big picture goal of delegating tasks is to let you re-focus both your time and energy on the tasks that only you should be doing—right here, right now.
Get back in control today
Working remotely definitely has its perks and its misfortunes. Remote work makes it that much easier to rack up overtime and overcommit on tasks that you may otherwise not have committed to back in the office or in a pre-pandemic situation. Lines between work and play are drastically blurred and it might be hard to say no to extra work. That’s why defining, setting, and adhering to healthy work boundaries is so important to be in control—especially as you grow and sustain your business.
Interested in Truly Small Accounting?
Less chasing, tracking, and administration and more time left to work around your healthy work boundaries. Interested in trying Truly Small Accounting for free for all your accounting (or invoicing) needs? Find out which TrulySmall™ product best suits your business needs right now.