#280 3 Tips to Set Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life

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Let’s talk about boundaries.

Fostering a healthy work-life balance is really hard, especially as a small business owner. When your work is your passion, it’s so easy for the boundaries between your work life and your personal life to become blurred.

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone! This is a problem the majority of employees in the United States deal with.

When you’re the CEO of your own business, there can be even MORE pressure to work longer, harder, and on weekends and holidays.

Unfortunately, that’s a one-way ticket to burnout. Been there, done that – it’s not worth it.

While it’s an ongoing process to find the perfect work-life balance, it’s never too late to reevaluate and start setting boundaries in your business.

Here are 3 important ways you can establish work-life boundaries ASAP…

#280 3 Tips to Set Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life Show Notes

“Try literally scheduling a meeting for yourself in your calendar so you can get your own time in. And sometimes when you actually see this as an appointment, it makes it a lot harder to cancel and you can treat it with as much care as a meeting with the client or customer.”

Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.

Tracy: Welcome to the Thrive By Design podcast episode 280. Hey, there. It's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer of Flourish and Thrive Academy. And I'm excited to be here today to talk about three tips to set boundaries between work and personal life. I am excited about this episode today. I mean, I'm always excited. By one, it was funny when I first started doing this podcast. Someone gave me a review and said like; “The show's good. But the person stays amazing and excited all the time.” And I'm like; “Well, if that's the worst thing I'm doing, then whatever.” I don't know, it was cute. Anyway, funny-funny. 

But this year, I think this is something we could all use in a reminder as we move into next year because the blurs… the lines are blurring. The blurs are blurring, the lines are blurring, all the things are blurring because a lot of us are still working at home. Some of us still have kids remote schooling, I know that we do. And it's a lot for both parents or both people in the home or even if it's just one person, one parent in the home with the kids. It's a lot for everyone to be at home and schooling and all the things. 

So, you know, I'm sure that a lot of us have felt like we're working later, or we're like working on weekends, or we're doing a lot more work. And it's like, conflicting with our personal life. And, you know, we got to have both, it's important to have both. So that's what we're gonna dive into today. And if you want more balance in your personal life this next year, and you know, I always say like, you know, is there really balance… work life balance? I don't know, because sometimes you're going to be working more, and sometimes you're going to be liking more, whatever it is. And at the end of the day, who got both. So while it's kind of hard to like, really, truly find balance-balance, I think what we would like to get to a place is where we feel good about how much we're working, how much we're spending with our family and our friends and doing things for ourselves.

And sometimes it's hard to do because I know like the number one objection and pain point maybe is the best way it's not an objection. It's more like a pain point. That we talked to you when we get a lot of people coming in and reaching out to us for help is that they feel overwhelmed, because they don't have a filter to know, like, what is the stuff that I should be actually doing versus the stuff that I shouldn't be doing. So they're just doing everything without proper prioritization, and everything starts to get jumbled together and everything starts to get a little stickier. So, it is tricky. I was about to sing a beastie boy song there. But I'm not going to. It's tricky to work. Well, I just did. It's tricky to rock around to rock around. That's right on time. It's okay. Just kidding. Not really. I might need to go do some karaoke tonight.

We'll see. Anyway, I say that because we have this program here. It's called Momentum. And our momentum program is really designed to help ambitious designers, brands, people who are out there who are trying to really like make a name for themselves to grow their business, to be like stand out really like in the sea of competitors. Because right now a lot of people are going online and there is a lot more that needs to happen because you're not going to get the the same kind of foot traffic, and you might already have a successful business. And that's great. What we really want to help you lean into is this online aspect of getting that direct to consumer revenue stream really rolling so that you're making direct sales on your website, in addition to other places that you're selling. And Momentum was designed specifically to do that. Here's a little backstory on the program.

About two or three years ago, I started noticing a trend and I knew something was going to change in our industry. I obviously did not know it was going to be a pandemic. I could have never guessed that. But I just felt it, like something in me. And this is where like my friend Christie's like this is where we're getting like divine guidance because you know. I just knew that things were changing that wholesale brick and mortar and these live events, these shows that people do to sell their jewelry, we're gonna start to weaken and change. And it's not that those won't be great places to sell products and jewelry in the future because I don't think that they're going away. It's just that people have more options now.

And so even retail stores and even artwork fairs are starting to get a direct… like basically a direct to consumer online channel now with their vendors. And that's just a sign of the times. And we're working with some big brands right now. We have multi million dollar businesses. And also just like multiple six figure and six figure businesses, who had successful brick and mortars, and they kept putting off the online component. And now they have to, so they're really leaning into that. And so the goal of this, we, you know, started having this head and so we ended up closing down our mastermind program. At that time, that was about 2017. And I started this program called SOS, which is now called Momentum, to specifically lean into online strategies. And that was, that was the whole goal.

So people with digital marketing, help them sell more on their website, build a robust e-commerce platform. If they were selling to customer, to teach them how to really close customers on the phone and drive traffic to their website. So they're getting more leads and inquiries, and hence, the Momentum Program was born. And so if you're someone who is interested, you already have an established business, and you're ready to kind of take it to the next level, I'd love to invite you to apply. It's an amazing year long program, most of our members stay for more than one year, because they're getting such great value. And it's designed to help you lean into your online strategies, get all the sales funnels and everything in place, to test those sales funnels, to start driving traffic to your website. And to do so much more. And at the same time, deal with the operational stuff. We have a lot of mindset coaching around it because there's a lot of internal hurdles sometimes that we need to go through in business. And so, I'd love to invite you to check it out and apply for the program.

We're starting a new cohort here in January. So if you want to check that out, you can head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/momentum And you'll see all the deliverables there, we have two groups and two levels that we actually work with: the Accelerate Level, which is an all group program. And then the Elevate Level, which is a hybrid group and one-on-one program where you get personalized attention with our expert coaches who are experts in their field. So it is awesome. And it's been going strong for three years. And we'd love to invite you to join. So I'd love to give you some information about going over and checking it out. You can head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/momentum

You can fill out the little form on that page, check out the program details, and jump on a call with my girl Natasha if it's a good fit, and we'll walk you through what it's all about. We're going to take a look at your business. We're going to get really clear on your three-year vision for your business, uncover any roadblocks that are standing in the way, and give you a clear path forward so you can implement those things with our support. Once again, flourishthriveacademy.com/momentum to apply and check it out. Alright, so let's talk about three tips to set boundaries between work and personal life. So I got some facts for you. Did you know that 60% of workers feel like they do not have work-life balance in their lives? That is a statistic from small biz trends, and about $190 billion per year is spent to address the psychological and physical effects of burnout.

Burnout is real, guys. And this comes from the Harvard Business Review. I got to tell you, you're not alone. This problem has been impacting so many people in the United States, and when the CEO of your own business, there can be even more pressure to work longer, harder, and on the weekends and holidays, even if you're feeling burnout. Raise your hand if you felt burnout this year. I did. And I got to tell you, it was not fun. Because when COVID hit my entire marketing and sales strategy basically had to get thrown out the window. And we were in pivot mode for most of the year. And it's exhausting. It's not fun, we're back in a more grounded place. But it took its toll on me because a lot of what I had spent my time doing over the previous year was working on planning and executing what I had done the previous year. that makes sense.

Plan for the previous year to execute in 2021 or 2020. And most of it went out the window. So it's all good. And it's all fine. We had a great year went as the year ends but it was just a lot different than I expected. And I worked a lot harder than I expected. So for me, I know that burnout is real. I've been through it many times in my life. And if you don't get out of it, what you end up doing is burning your business to the ground. In fact, I've done it before, not fun. So I just want to remind you that this is an ongoing process to find the perfect work-life balance. But settling these three boundaries is also a really good place to start. So the first is to set communication guidelines.

The people you're working with whether you have coworkers that might be like if you have another job, this is going to be helpful there. Or maybe you have employees or contractors or even clients. Do they know your office hours and when you're actually available? Now, this is interesting because I am one of those people who's an avid texter. And I will text people back late at night, even if it's a customer and they're texting me. And I have terrible boundaries when it comes to this. You know what I wish? Apple, if you're listening: can you please have a mark on red button on your text messaging. On the text messaging app on my iPhone, I really want that, that'd be so helpful because then you wouldn't feel like you had to respond because you wouldn't miss it.

But anyway, set boundaries with that. And if you really want to protect your time and have work life balance, do not answer emails, texts, phones, or anything outside of office hours. Now, this is something that I learned the hard way in my first business with my Tracy Matthews Design Company. And for those of you don't know, I've been a jewelry designer for my entire career. And in the 90s, I started my first company, Tracy Matthews Designs and had that business for 11 years. And when I had employees in my office, I had to actually start closing the door. I think that having… I had to start closing the door for a very specific reason. They would interrupt me all day. And while if you're a manager, and that's your job, and you're working in a big corporation, and all your job is to do is to like actually coach and manage people, that's a very different thing. If you're running a small business, and you're required to do all the things. And so you need to set boundaries around your time. And this also comes with the people who work with you.

So if you have a full on open door policy, and you're not like closing the door or telling them when you're when you're available to answer questions, like you're gonna never get anything done. And you'll see that there are a lot of blurred lines there. So I'd really encourage you to have like, I worked with this on there's a student in particular that that comes to mind that I worked with many years ago. She had several employees. And one of the things that she spoke about is that, you know, people were interrupting her all day. And I'm like; “Here's what you're going to do: in the morning at nine o'clock when you get there answer questions at noon… at lunch, answer questions, and sometimes late in the afternoon. Other than that, questions have to wait. And the reason why this works so well. Is that when you don't answer the questions right away, people think for themselves and their questions go away.

And you end up getting a lot less questions in general. And so you can also have requirements around this perhaps that people have to come with you with three possible solutions when they ask you a question about something. And then that way you can say like, Oh, I think this is the best way to go. And if none of them are the right solution, at least they tried and they started thinking resourcefully. And then that way, you can sort of shape the answer based on the direction you think you should move forward, which is great. Now, the next step to this is to set ideal hours and flex hours if you need it. And also, let your team know the appropriate expectations and steps to take if they have questions are concerned in the off hour period. So this is really important.

Like the example I just use, like they have a question and they can't get to you like what what's the process for doing that. So my suggestion to you would be to encourage them to come up with some solutions, and then try to figure it out, or if they have another, if it's an emergency, always, that's a different story. They can interrupt you, of course, but you know the deal, they need to know what a real emergency is, though. Now,the next piece of this is to schedule “Me Time” into your calendar. You know, we all need some time for ourselves. For me, it's usually in the morning, I don't really like to start getting going are working really until 11 or 12. I'm working in the morning, but it's usually my thinking time.

Like that's where I'm sitting there thinking about stuff, jotting in my journal, like planning things out, do a little workout because movement really helps me in the morning. I do some writing, like this is all super important for me. So schedule that me time in your calendar. You want to think about this because you take meetings with clients and employees seriously. But how many of you are far too quick to cancel or reschedule like time with your friends, or maybe it's family or hobbies or self care when something comes up? Like if you have to work late like you canceled the meeting with your friend or the zoom call with your friend because you're like, Oh shoot, I have to get this done happens all the time. My friends do it to me, too. Try literally scheduling a meeting for yourself in your calendar so you can get your own time in. And sometimes when you actually see this as an appointment, it makes it a lot harder to cancel and you can treat it with as much care as a meeting with a client or a customer.

And time away from work: I just want to remind you actually recharges you and it's vital to you for showing up as your best self for your business. You can't work all the time. You need time away and we are going to go through seasons in our business. In fact, my podcast next week is with Kate Northrup. I am really excited. She's going to be talking about doing less in 2021, which is kind of the theme for December is like really Self Care Month in a lot of ways. And then the episode after that is with Jason, it's gonna be awesome. We're talking about really leaning into your Northstar in your business. I'm super excited about it. So really what that says we all have seasons in business.

There are going to be times when we have to work really hard, but it's just as important to take the downtime as well. So I want you to remember that. All right, so take time away. recharge, energize, get your you know, get your mojo back. Often. Important. Alright. And then finally, I just had this conversation today with my beloved. Get comfortable with the word “no” because you know a lot of us are people pleasers. Like raise your hand if you feel like. So there's this personality assessment called the enneagram. And there are a lot of people in my life who are twos, they're the helper type. I'm a seven, which is the type who always wants to have fun, like, my work has to be fun or else it's not fun for me, but I attract a lot of helpers. And I'll go through the types just really quickly, if you're interested in learning more about the enneagram.

I think it's super helpful for business. The first one is the perfectionist. The second one is the helper. The third one is the achiever. The fourth one is the artist or the brooder, or the the soulful one, like more the creative one. So I would be not surprised if a lot of you in this community were number fours. I was in a lot of relationships with fours over time. It doesn't necessarily mean you're an artist, it's just a type of personality. Number five are really the investigators. These are more like systems driven people. Six is the promoter. They're really like… six is like the category that most people are. They're the ones who are like, a little bit more cynical, they're like more half glass less full kind of people, because they're slightly more skeptical of things. Like they're always like, evaluating and judging.

And there's nothing wrong with that. It's just a personality type. So like, these are really like analysts are like really like analyzing a lot of data and stuff like that. And then there is a seven, which is the protagonist, they're the ones who are like, or the Promote, I don't know if it's the promoter or the protagonist, one of the two, I can't remember any are the enthusiasts, that's what it's called. For target. I think six is the protagonist, that enthusiast is what I am. And we're the ones who like to have a lot of fun. And it's not this, we want to party all the time. But we are typically mostly extroverts. And we really enjoy being in the mix of things. We enjoy being around other people. We're people-people and work has to be fun for us. And then there's an eight, which is the challenger.

The challenger are the people who are like super forceful people. And it's funny because I'm a seven with an eight wing, we all have a wing. And these are people who get stuff done and they move like mountains in the world. They're very confrontational and willful, they're willing to take on a fight for a cause, like I think of like, all the protests that we're having in the world are probably led by challengers, etc. I think probably President Trump is a challenger, too. But challengers like they're not, they're really it sounds, they sound like really demanding people. But we need challengers in the world and people without challenger wings for a very specific reason, because they get stuff done. And it's it's not a bad thing to be a challenger. And then finally, the number nine is the peacemaker.

These are people who are really trying to promote peace in the world and come with peaceful solutions and peaceful outcomes in life. And so if you're interested in taking that test, this is not a podcast about the enneagram. But I do love it. And I've studied it for a while. So I think it's interesting. If you're interested, definitely go take the test. And then find me on social media on Instagram at Tracy Matthews, New York. And at TracyMatthewsNY, I should say or at flourish_thrive and share with me what your enneagram score is because I'm just curious, and I like to talk to people. So because I'm a seven. That's how we are, that's how we roll. Right? So number three, is get comfortable with the word “no”. 

And in fact, I was talking to Jason about this because he is borderline… he's kind of like three equally, but the two main ones are helper and the number five because he's super good at systems. He's the investigator. And it was just a lesson about him like setting boundaries. And so if you're someone who says yes to everyone, even when you know, you shouldn't, like boundaries are really important. You need to be one of those people who can say “no” when it's not right for you. And you can say it gracefully, right? So if you ever fallen into that trap of saying yes to everything even if you truly don't have the bandwidth to do it, you're not really being helpful because what's going to happen is you're going to end up showing up kind of like half-assed and not your whole self.

Now, I already mentioned it at the beginning of the program. But if you're interested, I'd really like to encourage you to apply to our momentum program, we're starting a new cohort early in January. It's the perfect time to invest in yourself and your business, right now for a very specific reason. You know, at the end of the year, when you make a big investment in your business, you can write it off, so you pay less taxes, which is awesome. And then also, starting the year fresh with some mentorship and guidance is an amazing way to really make the next year the best. And I know a lot of people have been on the fence and investing in their business this year because of COVID and uncertainty. But you know, we've been in this long enough to know that things are actually working and people are making a lot of money during this time.

So I want you to be one of those people capitalizing on opportunity. And when you invest now, the awesome part is that when people actually start going back to business full force, you're gonna be so many steps ahead of them. because you did the work while everyone was like taking time off or whatever was stepping back. So think about it that way, because it's your opportunity to really like rise up from the cream and be one of those people that is being seen and heard at that given moment. And then I also want to mention this one more time. We've been promoting it on the podcast and on social media for quite a while. 

But we're in full intake for our BIPOC scholarship, Black Indigenous People of Color Scholarship that we're hosting over here at Flourish and Thrive Academy. It is a year long mentorship program with a competition for a $5,000 grant at the end of the mentorship program. And we're taking six individuals who wants to come in and be mentored. We have three people, at the sort of startup level, and then we're helping three people who are more at that ramp up level where they're kind of already have an established business and they're trying to build momentum and grow. So this is a really great opportunity for you to check it out.

We're about to close the opportunity to apply and it's happening really soon. December 31 is the cutoff to even get your application and we're going to start making decisions right away. So head on over to flourishthriveacademy.com/bipoc scholarship to check out all the details right there and get your application filled out so that we can consider you for mentorship in 2021. Thank you so much for listening today. This is Tracy Matthews signing off. Until next time, have a wonderful week and a wonderful rest of the year. We got 15 days and counting. Ciao, ciao for now. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. It's my mission to help thousands of creative businesses inside and outside the jewelry space, use their creativity to make money. Make sure that you're subscribed to thrive by design on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are played. And we'd love to hear what you think. Please rate and review the show and if you're inspired, please share this with your friends. Cheers to seeing you flourish and thrive.

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Set Communication Guidelines

Do your co-workers, employees, and clients know your office hours? If you’re thinking, “Office hours? What office hours?” now is probably a good time to reevaluate.

Having a complete “open door” policy might not always be the best idea for your business. It puts more stress on you and makes it more challenging to develop a healthy work/life balance.

Instead, set your ideal working hours and be flexible only when it’s needed.

Most importantly, communicate these hours to your team and let them know the appropriate expectations and steps to take if they have questions or concerns in off-hour periods.

Schedule “Me Time” In Your Calendar

Work meetings with clients and employees should always be a high priority, but how often do you find yourself canceling or “rescheduling” time for friends, family, hobbies, and self-care?

For busy entrepreneurs, this is often one of the first boundaries to erode.

Try treating personal time like a work meeting – literally schedule it into your calendar. After all, it’s just as important.

Seeing it in writing makes it harder to cancel and serves as a reminder to take your personal wellbeing seriously. Time away from work to recharge is vital to show up as your best self for your biz.

Get Comfortable With the Word “No”

Have you fallen into the trap of saying “yes!” to everything, even if you don’t truly have the bandwidth for it?

Flip the script on the word no: Saying no allows you to show up as your very best self to the commitments you’ve already made.

You have to make a conscious effort to block out time and energy to invest back in yourself. After all, you’re the visionary, the artist, the genius behind the business!

Establish your top priorities/areas of focus for your life and biz – if a proposed opportunity doesn’t fit those priorities or get you excited, it’s 100% okay to say no.

And “No.” is a complete sentence.

xo, Tracy


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