As a business owner, I’ve realized how easy it is to let your work spill over into your “non-working” hours. Today, I’m sharing 5 boundaries I’ve set in my business to help me maintain a better work/life balance.
Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.
Set Up Boundaries to Help You Find Balance (1:25)
5 Boundaries That I Have Set (2:00)
1. Friday Afternoon and Weekends Off (2:12)
2. Office Hours that Clients Can Expect to Hear from Me (4:27)
3. Batched Workdays (5:21)
4. Allow for Flexibility in my Schedule (9:30)
5. Eliminated Last Minute Work (11:17)
Review the Transcript:
Last week we wrapped up our August podcast series, but I wanted to add a little bonus to the series that isn’t necessarily podcast on podcasting, but will help those who are trying to start a podcast. That’s work/life balance—and the reason I feel this wraps up this short little series is because if you’ve not figured out some sort of balance in your business or how to manage your time, you may struggle with starting and continuing to produce a podcast on your own.
Now like I mentioned in previous episodes, hosting a podcast does take time, especially if you don’t hire a producer. So if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, I want you to consider what boundaries you need to set up in your business or life to help you find that balance.
And balance doesn’t have to mean balance… I get it, I definitely work more than I have a social life—but don’t we all. I’m talking about getting to the point where you aren’t burnt out by the time you go to work on your podcast.
Maybe you’re not even ready to start a podcast and just wanted to hear this episode to work on setting better boundaries for yourself. This episode is absolutely a tool you can use to get started.
I’ll be outlining a few boundaries I have set that have truly made a difference in my work in helping me find a little more balance, but also allowed me to focus on getting work done.
Friday afternoons and Weekends off.
I decided to take my business full-time so that I could create my own schedule and really focus on building the life and career that I wanted. I’ve been taking off *almost* every Friday afternoon for over a year. Not only that, but I try to limit the amount of actual client work I do on Friday mornings to as little as possible. What I define as client work would be anything that doesn’t improve my own business. The only exception I’ve made to this rule is that once a month for the last year, I’ve hosted a headshot mini session in the studio on Friday mornings.
Outside of those headshot dates, I don’t work on client work, I don’t take calls, and I try to have my computer closed by 1PM every single Friday. Those mornings I spend working on my business, planning content, working on my podcast, etc.
Then, when I close my laptop at 1PM, this allows me to either work on housework that I slacked on through the week or start the weekend early and head out of town or go do something fun.
I really enjoy this, but in order to do it, there are a few other important boundaries I’ve had to set as well.
Office Hours that Clients Can Expect to hear from me.
For all of my new clients, I set this new expectation, but as a reminder, I share my office hours in the signature of most of my emails in Honeybook. In addition to keeping my office horse in email, I also share upcoming Out of Office dates and a link to schedule a call with me, but we’ll get into that shortly.
So office hours are times that I’ll be checking my email and responding to clients. My current office hours are Monday – Thursday 9am-3pm est. Now I typically work 8-5 every single day, but if I complete work early, this gives me the flexibility in my schedule that I originally started this business for.
The third boundary I’ve set for myself is Batched Workdays
Basically, this is where I’ll batch similar tasks to specific days of the week. For instance, I only take phone calls on Monday and Thursday during office hours for weekly meetings, client inquiries, etc. This is to eliminate any interruptions on my focused work days. I book all of these calls through a scheduling system, which I link to in my email signature and clearly state that I take calls on Mondays and Thursdays.
I’ll also take photoshoots in the afternoons on these days as needed since I don’t have a ton of planned work, but on the days that I do have the availability in my schedule, I will work ahead on projects as necessary to free up some time at the end of the week.
If you’re not careful, you end up spending a ton of time on calls with clients and inquires that you’re not making money on. This is why I set this boundary. Obviously there are exceptions, like when you get a phone call inquiry or one of my podcast launch clients can’t meet on other days.
The other batch scheduling I do is podcast production. I spend Tuesdays and Wednesdays only editing, managing, and producing podcasts (which includes show notes, graphics, and more). This could be one client’s work or an episode per client depending on how far ahead my clients are in getting their audio to me. This is also important for my clients to understand, because their deadline to get their audio to me is based on me working two days a week on editing and scheduling. This did take a long time to nail down, and I’ll still find myself breaking this boundary to keep happy clients, but I’m working on it.
To throw a little bit of a wrench in what seems like the perfect work schedule, my next boundary is to allow for Flexibility in my schedule.
Now I do this for a few reasons. My husband works a weird schedule. Some weekends he works, others he doesn’t, then he’s got a lot of time off through the week. This means that there are times that I”ll shift my schedule a little to hang out with him more. That could mean a Tuesday morning is spent at the Zoo instead of editing podcasts, then I make up the work time on the weekend. Other times it could mean that we head to a baseball game in the middle of the day, because I have that flexibility. My priority though is ensuring my client work does slack because of it. While there is so much beauty in being able to take off in the middle of the week, it’s also important that I’ve taken care of every single thing my clients could need that day while I’m out. It also means that I have to make up the work—so I have to be ok with breaking boundaries for this one.
Eliminated Last minute Work or anything that will cost me headache
This last and final boundary I’ve set has come after dozens of lessons learned. I laugh because I still catch myself ignoring this boundary and always coming back to it wondering why I didn’t enforce it.
For podcast editing, I rarely accept last minute episodes. Most of my clients understand their deadlines and I actually have a ton of them working on batched scheduling where we’re a few weeks ahead!
I enforce this new rule, because if something is going to inconvenience me or stress me out, I’ve realized it’s not worth the money. There are times that I have the bandwidth in my schedule, but in order to love what I do, I can’t get irritated with the work I love by making it something I don’t want to do or something that stresses me out. So I’ll either push back on the client and encourage a more realistic timeline, create a solution that helps us both out, or I’ll deny it altogether. This is on both the podcasting side and on the photography side.
I really hope these few boundaries helped you to think about boundaries you could set up! There are dozens of other boundaries I’ve put in place that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. I think it’s really up to your work schedule, the type of work you do, and the clients you serve.
If you’ve set up any boundaries in your business that you love, I’d love to hear about them! Head over to Instagram and shoot me a DM @hayleegaffin.