Boundaries in Business – Who Needs Them – You DO!

by | May 15, 2016

Where are your boundaries in business?

If you are like most women I know, sometimes you are not sure where your work ends and your personal time starts, if at all. And then if you have a partner, family and other commitments, life can seem to be one amorphous lump of amorphous-ness! Phew – even I got tired writing that sentence! We can all struggle to define our boundaries in business.

Boundaries in business

Where are your boundaries?

[Tweet "At times it can seem as if our calendar is controlling us"], even though we are the person that adds the appointments to it. Bizarrely, it can feel as if we are addicted to this busy-ness. How did this craziness start and how can you get your control back? The good news is the addiction is not your fault. Blame it on the 1.5-kilogram mass of grey matter in your head. Blame it on your brain.

Thousands of years ago, when we were wandering the earth as cave men and women, our brain was programmed to continually scan the environment, searching for danger. Every rustle in the bushes, each shriek from a passing carnivore, caused us to have a burst of adrenalin shoot straight into our central nervous system, readying us to run or fight.

Fast forward to 2016 and whilst we may not be scared of hungry large carnivores, our brain is still using that programming from centuries ago. Your brain is still actively scanning the environment for danger and now, change. As change in your situation can represent danger.

Have you watched people get off the underground trains? [Tweet "As soon as they reach signal, they are scanning their phone for message,"]as if it is essential they get that news now. Read: FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. This is their brain, addicted to novelty and scanning, taking over and causing them to reach for their handset. Overriding such a primal response can be done.

You need to be mindful

This means being present in the here and now. Focusing your mind on what you are doing right now, and not letting it be distracted by internal thoughts of the past or future. Try and set yourself a thinking boundary, only think about where you are right now and what you are doing in this moment. [Tweet "By placing boundaries on your thoughts, you can start to feel more contained and more in control."] Read: Listen Up or Burnout – Survival Tips for the Modern Woman

I believe boundary setting starts from the inside out

Once you have created your thinking boundaries, it’s time to move into the external environment. Too often our work life can bleed into our personal life and we no longer know where one stops and the other starts. Here are some tips to create boundaries around your work time,  thus separating work from personal time.

1. Start work at the same time every day

When you used to work for someone else you had to turn up for a certain start tome each day. So why is it, that when you start working for yourself, you let your standards slip? Start making boundaries between your personal and work life by choosing a time to “Start Work”

2. Create a Start the Day Routine

When I used to work in an office, I would commute to work and buy a coffee in the coffee shop at the bottom of my building. Walking into my office, I would take off my coat. Sit down and start my coffee. I felt like my working day had started. Creating a routine for your day to start is also a way to signal that you are in work mode. It may be that once you are dressed and ready, you go for a walk around the block, and then as you put the key in the lock to open the door, you are in that mindset of starting the working day.

3. When you are at work, work

Once you have your time chosen to “Start Work”, then work. Discipline yourself to focus. Don’t be tempted to put a load of washing on, or quickly do the vacuuming. If you were working in an office, you wouldn’t be doing this! Read:7 Big dos and don’ts of working from home. I know from the experience of my clients, when they have the time to put the washing on, they are avoiding a task that scares them slightly. It may be calling a prospect, following up a sales call or chasing down a journalist. [Tweet "Start to respect your business by working during your working time."]

4. Create a finishing work time

In the same way that you create a Getting Started time, choose a time to end the day. And end the day. No sneaking back to check email after dinner or when the kids have gone to bed, but truly commit to making the end of the working day the end. In that way you can reclaim your personal time and feel as if you have boundaries between the two.

5. Create a finishing work ritual

In the same way that you create a Getting Started routine to kick-start your working day, develop one to end the day. I love to reflect back on my day and write down three things that have gone well for me, or three successes. I find that this helps me end the day feeling like I have achieved and that my business is moving forward. [Tweet "Create you own finishing work ritual to close the day so you feel good."]

Now you have created boundaries around your work time, use them! Make the most of having a life again and get out! All work and no play not only makes us dull but it hampers creativity, we lose our perspective on our problems and work and frankly we become mono-dimensional and boring. Ugh – who wants to be that?

Celebrate your new-found freedom by doing something new!

Feed your creative self, get out and see something new, connect with friends and enjoy yourself. You will feel much better when you turn up for work the next morning!

For help with setting boundaries and your work/life balance check out the 3Plus coaching and mentoring programs for women. Contact us.

Originally posted by Wendy Kerr Corporate Crossovers  Aug 2003

Wendy Kerr Contributor
With a 20-year career in multi-national blue chip organisations, Wendy has specialised in creating and launching new businesses around the world with companies such as Apple, FT and Intuit. A Corporate Crossover herself, Wendy left her corporate career to create a successful 6 figure coaching and consulting business running it from London and Tokyo. She works with leaders of high growth, global technology companies. Clients include; Expedia, IBM, and Betfair. Wanting to change the way work works, she has also mentored and fueled over 1,500 women to create a business that allows them to live the life they love. Her company, Corporate Crossovers®, enables women wherever they are in their journey of leaving their job to start their business successfully, providing them with workshops, tools, and mentoring. She is a best selling author of two books; ‘Corporate Crossovers; when it’s time to leave the office and start your own business’, and ‘My new business; a busy women’s guide to start up success’.
follow me

Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services

Individual services

Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.

Corporate services

The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)

Upcoming events

Dates for the Diary

August 25th Coaching and Discussion - Navigating uncertainty in the post Covid workplace

with Dorothy Dalton and Khady Gaye









Download and listen free podcasts

Related articles

The education pipeline and women in tech

With a dwindling number of women in tech we need to examine what stigmas still exist and how to tackle them as early as possible. Dorothy Dalton explores how gender stereotypes impacts the education pipeline.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
3 Plus International Call Back Request