In order to run a sustainable business that keeps you inspired without running the risk of burnout, you’ll need to create and implement strong boundaries. In the online business world, where so many of us are also friends with the people we work with (which is great!), it’s not always easy to keep our work and our ‘real’ lives separate. Most of us know what it’s like to have clients in our DMs at all hours, or mismanaged expectations when collaborating on projects. Some of us are night owls who thrive on an evening work session, while others put their phone on flight mode come 6pm. It’s all about communication – so figure out your boundaries, and make sure your clients, team and collaborators know how you work. The good news is that post-pandemic, we’re all much more accepting of working styles we’d once have considered unusual… All you need to do is make sure everyone’s on the same page!
And it’s not just tricky clients that get in the way of a great work-life balance. Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies. We’ve all been there – we start the day with great intentions, planning to smash through our to-do list by 2pm, and end the day early. When lunchtime comes along, however, we’re still in PJs, and a long late breakfast turns into a sneaky Netflix episode or three. It’s not always easy having so much freedom in your work day, but it’s worth spending some time experimenting to find a structure and routine that works well for you. We reached out to the community to find out what they had to say about creating a good work-life balance.
Lucy Cleveley and Isabel Mohan, founders of Discoco
“Focus on the important things first. Work out what you absolutely need to get done today versus what can wait, so that you’re not chasing your tail at the end of the day. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to keep working when you should be watching Netflix / exercising / lying in a dark room with a flannel on your face.” | Discoco
“I take business chat out of the DMs, off WhatsApp, and onto email as soon as possible. It helps me switch off in the evenings and means I don’t get as many 2am client messages… When the urge to check your notifications isn’t there, you can just log on when you have time to.” | Effable
Katie Stockdale, founder of Juno
“Let it go to shit sometimes. There are weeks when we have to navigate school holidays with zero support. Just get back on the horse when you can and even in those crappy weeks, be sure to set aside some dedicated time for R and R. Don’t expect people to read your mind. If you’re setting new boundaries or changing the goalposts, make sure you let people know any changes to your routine or schedule. Communication is key to getting what you want!” | Juno
Serena Gasparini, marketing specialist and community manager here at Found & Flourish!
“I would suggest creating a schedule and blocking out time in the diary for both work and play.” | Serena’s LinkedIn
Jess Ratcliffe, creator of Stuck to Started
“One of the things I’m experimenting with is blocking out an afternoon a week to do something that’s not business-related – which for me is golf. By blocking out the recurring time in my calendar, it means I stick to the promise I’ve made to myself, rather than let it slip.” | Stuck to Started podcast
With so many of us having spent the past two years inside and glued to our laptops, it’s no wonder we’re all starting to fray at the edges. Burnout is a serious problem, and one that entrepreneurs are particularly at risk from. We don’t have bosses telling us to stop overworking ourselves, and if we fit our work around childcare or other commitments, it’s not always easy to be on top of how many hours we’re working. If you’re not careful, you can quickly rack up 60/70/80 hour work weeks, and find yourself on the edge of burnout.
Remember: rest is non-negotiable. It’s vital for your health, and can even help you run your business better. “When we actually allow rest and space, the creativity begins to flow again. Have a dedicated notebook ready to capture your reflections as they come, so you know they won’t be lost. There can be a sense that we are getting behind if we let ideas pile up without action, but instead, we can relish the fact that we’re resourcing our future selves,” says coach Keri Jarvis.
Next time you’re feeling a little bit out of alignment, consider turning to some prompt questions to help guide you in the right direction. Light a candle, put on some good-vibes music, and work through these prompts to help you stay in tune with your body.
- Which (work) tasks light me up?
- Which (work) tasks drag me down?
- What are my favourite free self-care activities?
- What are the biggest sources of stress for me right now?
- What can I do to reduce this stress?
- What’s stopping me from getting enough rest?
- What would my ideal morning routine look like?
- What would my ideal work week look like?
- What does work life balance look like to me?
About your author
Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.
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