Most of the time, I love working for myself. It is empowering to set my own schedule and choose the projects I want to work on. I do have to set work boundaries, however, or I will work too much—and working long hours isn't good for either my emotional or physical health.
For example, last week I decided to check my email in the evening. I wanted to follow up with a few readers before I began my evening routine, which includes taking a bath and reading in bed. After I answered my emails, I decided to review assignments for B-School. By the time I shut down my computer, it was 9:30 p.m.
This is why I don't check email in the evenings! If I do, I get sucked into work projects or get excited about my course work. In addition, my back, wrists, and shoulders begin to ache when I spend long hours on the computer and falling asleep is challenging because my mind is filled with to-do lists. I prefer to fill my evenings with cooking, reading, conversations with Logan, and long baths.
My evening routine allows me to reflect on my day and relax. Since I'm a one-woman shop, I need to make the time and space to get my work done. However, not all work is done through focused effort. Creating space for spontaneous ideas and self-care is essential. Last week's late workday reaffirmed why I need to set work boundaries.
Below is a list of strategies I use to balance my work and personal life:
- I journal in the morning and set my daily intentions
- I don’t check email before 8:00 a.m.
- I focus on doing the work
- I set a timer when I log onto Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- I listen to my body. If my body hurts, I get off the computer and go for a walk
- I try to be helpful and not hurtful
- I turn off my computer and put it away after 6:00 p.m.
- If I have creative ideas in the evening, I write about the concepts in my journal
Keep in mind, my strategies may or may not work for you. I'm sharing this list to prompt you—and to remind myself—to set work boundaries in daily life. Rest and reflection are just as important as focus and work.