I was a workaholic in my 20’s. I always had multiple streams of income and for years worked 7 days a week. I’ve pulled my fair share of all-nighters, working shifts at two different jobs in one day and going weeks (sometimes months) without a single day off. Although I benefitted financially from hustling in this way, I found myself struggling in so many areas personally.
When I turned 30, maintaining a healthy work-life balance became one of my top priorities. At the time, I was balancing a demanding career in the foster care field with my photography business that was taking off in a way it hadn’t before. I had an honest conversation with myself and had to admit that although I loved what I was doing, I don’t want my life to revolve around the work I do. I no longer wanted to miss out on experiences and time with loved ones. I was tired of neglecting myself just to meet deadlines and the demands of my work load.
Before transitioning out of my full time job last year, I began to put boundaries in place. I scheduled my email notifications to turn off when I was away from the office, used specific wording with professionals stating I would follow up with them during business hours at a later time, and when my former boss gave me the opportunity to take a salary decrease in order to opt out of the on-call schedule I jumped on the opportunity.
When I decided to finally take the leap, quit my job and see what the world of self-employment had to offer me in April 2022, it was an opportunity to unlearn everything I knew and take a new approach to my relationship with work. I’ve been wanting to give more insight on what my entrepreneurship journey, so this felt like a good place to start.
There are set hours I am available to correspond with my clients and also hours that are just for me to zone out on work without distraction. When those hours end, I log off and totally shift my focus to how I plan to spend my personal time. Whether I choose to stop by the gym, read a few chapters of a book or sit on the couch playing my Nintendo switch, this has given me space to recharge, disconnect and tend to my own needs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love commenting on my clients’ posts and carrying on with conversation in texts/messages, but any business talk is typically redirected to my email. This helps me keep details for projects all in one place so I’m able to be as thorough and efficient as possible, and allows us to maintain a level of professionalism that I feel is necessary no matter who you’re working with. I also don’t want clients to feel I’m “ignoring” them if I don’t respond to their text message or dm in a timely manner. 9.5/10 times I will prioritize responding to an email before I even glance at my phone.
This post is getting a little lengthy, so I’ll stop here. In the comments, feel free to share how you create boundaries in the work that you do! I’ll be back soon with more updates!