Work-Life Balance: Creating Boundaries

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Our society loves to be busy. To stack things on our to-do list, to run a million miles a minute, until we reach the point of burnout. If you’re like so many of us, you’re probably looking for a way to find more balance in your life especially when it comes to your personal life.

We as women have a lot on our plates. Building a career and running a home are not things that were ever done together until recent history, so how do we find the balance? It all starts with boundaries.

Creating Boundaries In Your Life

Boundaries are a divine gift. They allow us to hold our own power and choose what is and isn’t right for us. As children, our parents provided the boundaries for us–no dessert until after dinner, bed by 8, TV only after your homework is finished. But as adults, we get to choose the boundaries and structure of our life and often we forget that just because we aren’t kids anymore doesn’t mean we don’t still need those boundaries.

Boundaries to Create Balance

Your work-life balance is going to look different from anyone else’s, as it should be. So use these ideas as a start for what boundaries make sense for you and your life.

Morning Routine

The first step to balance is a morning routine. How you start your morning sets you up for the rest of the day. Your morning might be at 6 am or 2 pm. The idea is to have a routine that goes into effect when you get out of bed. That might include making a hot beverage, practicing yoga, going for a walk, reading, journaling, or meditating. What you choose to do during this time of first waking up is completely up to you and should serve your needs.

Design a morning routine that takes 30-60 minutes to complete in the morning and start using it every day (even on the weekends) for the next few weeks. See how this small structure can create new energy and balance in your life.

Setting Hours

Gone are the days of heading into the office to get work done, now we can work from home. While this has been a huge benefit for so many it still offers challenges when it comes to creating balance and “clocking out.”

Because our home is our office it’s important to delegate space and time to work so that your brain knows when you’re in work mode and when you are back in your personal space. For this, I set clear work hours. Because I work for myself I get to choose my hours, but you might have set hours from your business. Put those in your calendar and then don’t let work go outside of those hours. It’s important to have a clear line of starting and finishing so that you know when it’s time to wind down and focus on other things.

I like to have this same line in the sand for your workspace too. If possible, have a space dedicated to work so that your brain knows when you are and aren’t working. If you don’t have a dedicated space then find a way to transition from workspace to non-work by removing your laptop and putting it in a drawer, closing everything down, and then lighting a candle, or some other ritual that says, we’re done with work now.

Turn off Notifications

We are bombarded with notifications all day long. Whether it is emails, Slack, text messages, news alerts, the list goes on and on. When someone else is running your to-do list it can feel like you’ll never get everything done. Take back your to-do list by limiting the ways people can get in touch with you and have ways to turn off the madness.

For me, I turn off all notifications that aren’t text messages or phone calls. That means all apps (even social if you have it) should be turned off, including your email! If someone is emailing you about it, it can wait until tomorrow. I even include in my email signature that I don’t answer emails on the weekend and to give me 24-business hours to respond.

Limit Your To-Do List

Not allowing others to add to your to-do list constantly will help a lot in limiting your to-do list but you can cut it back even further by prioritizing what needs to be done today. Think about what will take less than 5-minutes to do or what will get provide the largest ROI. Those things should be at the top of your to-do list.

I like to start a new to-do list every morning with that day’s most important tasks. I can look at the list from the day before and see if anything should be moved over today but keep those 2-rules in mind. I also try to limit the list to things I know I can accomplish that day so that my list is only 5-7 tasks long. Anything I accomplish on top of that is just a bonus!

Keep a Schedule

My favorite saying goes “show me your schedule and I’ll show you your priorities.” If you want more time for self-care, say like a yoga class, or time with your family, you need to put it into your schedule. Block off the hours of playing with your kids, put in the time you want to take a yoga class (don’t forget about the drive time). Whatever is important to you should be added to your schedule and then locked in there. Don’t push these things to the side when something comes up at work. Just like any other meeting you add to your calendar, you need to prioritize these “meetings” because they are just as, if not more, important.

Creating Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a balance that only you can create, mostly because what feels like balance for me might not be enough work for you or too much work for someone else. You get to decide what the balance is and how that feels for you.

The key to creating a work-life balance is continuously tuning in (why your morning routine is important) so that you can decide what it is you need that day, or at that moment. Do you need time to catch up on client work? Are you feeling tired and need rest? Are you feeling disconnected from your loved ones? The answers to these questions will help guide you to the answer of where you need to balance things out in that day. Listen to yourself and trust your intuition. You know exactly what you need and will find the balance.

Katie Leigh Brand Strategist + Photographer

Katie Leigh is a Brand Strategist and Photographer in the Denver Area. She helps small businesses get clear in their messaging, simplify their marketing, and create intentional practices for work-life balance. Get access to her free guide to work-life balance here.