One of the best things you can do for your business, not to mention your sanity and mental health, is to set super clear, personal boundaries with the people closest to you, especially those that live in your house and seem to desperately need you every time you sit down at your computer to work.
This can feel scary if you’ve never attempted it before, or if you have, and you got shot down or ignored. One of the biggest fears about setting firm boundaries is that by putting limits on those you care about, you will either push them away or make them upset. In reality, by having boundaries in place, you will be able to build stronger, healthier relationships with those you care deeply about when your limits are established and respected.
Not only does this allow you to get the work done that you need to get done, but it also frees you up to spend uninterrupted quality time with your loved ones. You no longer have to feel guilty for missing deadlines while hanging out with the fam.
Here are 4 ways to set boundaries that feel easy and will give you the quality time you crave with the important people in your life.
2. Tell People What You Need: When setting boundaries with family and friends, it’s important to be clear, concise and kind – not necessarily in that order! A lot of people wait until the last minute when their deadlines are up to their eyeballs and the last thing they feel like being is kind. Many times, it is the lack of communication that causes the pressure and the guilt to build up and cause the eruptive conversations we’re trying to avoid by staying silent. Then when our family steps over a boundary that we’ve set up in our minds, it’s as if they stepped on a hidden “land mine”, aka boundary or deadline, and got the “mad mommy” response. All because they didn’t know. These intense moments and added stress could have been avoided by a simple conversation. As soon as you identify a new limit or boundary you want to set, talk it through with those closest to you so that everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect.
3. Start Small: If you’re new to setting boundaries in your business, you’re probably feeling tight in your chest just thinking about it, especially when it comes to family and friends who are used to you being the “yes girl”. But don’t let that stop you! Being bold and asking for what you need takes practice and the only way to get better is to start. The good news is, you don’t have to make huge changes in order to get the ball rolling. Start having casual discussions with the people who live in your house and directly affect your day to day schedule about your work load and goals for your business, and what type of support you need to get there. Maybe you would like a half an hour of quiet time by yourself at night or you’d simply like some help around the house. By making your requests known in small ways, you’ll build up your courage to set even more boundaries down the road. Remember, big changes start from small beginnings.
4. Be consistent: It’s important to be consistent and always follow through with the boundaries you’ve set in place. It’s even harder to maintain boundaries with others when we don’t follow through with what we promised to ourselves. Stay committed to your business goals, even when it feels hard. With loved ones, it may be tempting to let things slide once in a while when it comes to overstepping your boundaries, but don’t fall into this trap. If you are seen as wishy washy, and keep pushing back on your own goals and deadlines to accommodate their requests, it sends a message that your boundaries aren’t all that important to you and people will start reverting back to the old patterns of asking you for things because you’re showing them that what you said before is no longer valid. By staying consistent, you let others know that you’re serious about the boundaries you’ve set, for yourself and your business, and that you will take a stand for them.
Setting boundaries doesn’t have to be hard, even with those closest to you. Just start implementing a few of these tips, and you’ll be on your way to building healthier, happier relationships with yourself and those around you so you can establish your own sanity and inner peace as an entrepreneur.