The Benefits of Healthy Business (& Life) Boundaries
Structured time, celebrating the real wins & not the technology pings & discovering the simple beauty that lies within the ordinary
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When you’re writing for your business and certainly when I work within my own and with clients, I always find it’s useful to set boundaries to schedule writing time, mapping out content topics and working out how they align with your goals and objectives.
When writing, clarity and focus is important if you’re planning on writing your own content. Often it can be left as one of those things that we do without leaving enough time to write the copy. But it is the representation of you and your business and often the first thing that your audience will see before they book that discovery call with you or enquire about your services.
The benefit of time, if you can afford it, is one of the most useful gifts you can offer yourself or your writer to allow for writing & editing in your brilliance. If you’re contracting your writing out, again, time will offer you the ability to book communication time to discuss the brief and for any editing/discussion rounds of corrections/changes.
Healthy Boundaries Over Quiet Quitting
According to TIME magazine, quiet quitting impacts around half of American workers with the term, ‘act your wage’ becoming commonplace and sparking a wave of workers only carrying out the exact tasks they are ‘paid’ to do. Going over and beyond is something that some employers will expect of their employees, especially with the cost of living crisis, where budgets can become squeezed & therefore the expectation of accommodating the loss or absence of staff from roles that have already left the workplace, place additional pressures on those still within the organisation’s setting.
Quiet quitting has become a way to set boundaries, but the danger, as some experts say, is that many people are checking-out, which may affect career trajectories as well productivity outcomes.
This can force some workers to believe that there isn’t a solution and where they start to disengage with their work. This, of course, is difficult if your role is writing and involves writing and the workloads associated with it. If you’re running a business with contractors or employees, the best thing you can do is to tune in to how your workers feel within your workplace and their job within it, but if this is your own business, then not having the people fully committed to it can inevitably also impact the written work produced.
Setting healthy working boundaries can be in seeking support where it’s needed and offering support where it’s required, before you reach crisis point, helping to minimise the risk of working practices seizing to a halt or slowing down where capacity to complete a task is maxed out.
In the creativity sphere, it can very much be a team sport, often with people working within teams or with leaders to build work towards your company’s ideal outcomes. I often work with leaders to help find their voice that reaches their ideal audience. Communication is the crucial piece for progression which is where engagement and motivation is paramount. Without it, the inspirational cogs don’t turn – which is why it’s vital to look after your people & yourself and to set healthy boundaries in place.
‘Take care of your people and they will take care of you.’
Executing Boundaries with Writing
It might sound boring, but boundaries are important with writing. It’s a healthy discipline to set into place, as it takes planned writing time and scheduled content planning to successfully aid completion in this area of your business.
If I have client’s that want writing work done but can’t give it the time to approve and overview work when I ask for approval and the need for any revisions, then I can’t complete my part of the contract effectively.
It’s important to detail expectations early on and I always talk through my process when working with client’s so they understand what it takes on my part but their role in it too. Some clients are happy for me to take the lead and wave it through but sometimes there is technical language and content aspects that need a nod of agreement and okaying before publication, as it’s a representation of your company that directly speaks to your target audience, get it wrong, and the ramifications reflect back on your brand/business.
Executing boundaries is key to understanding our own, but also in those we require within our workplaces and written content too. Being clear with communication in every aspect is what offers clarity and a shared vision that works towards a common goal.
If I’m writing a guide, a technical report, a marketing piece such as a mini magazine or editing a commercial book, it’s time that enables me to plan around what I require to complete my professional capacity for a project but it also allows for the unknown and the unforeseen such as illness or scenarios where time out might be needed.
Naturally, there are times when projects run right up to the wire for one reason or another but setting planned boundaries in place works to allow a buffer for the unplanned.
The Importance of Taking Time Out
Having spoken on this before, it is essential to always take time out, no matter how busy you are. Writing in my business takes a lot of mental energy and sometimes my brain can be fried, so I take breaks by tuning in and listening to my body.
If you’re running your own business, like me, then you don’t want to find yourself facing burnout, or within its grasp, which renders you to down tools and not in any shape to work. Taking days off, setting yourself breaks, and prioritising yourself, is in allowing yourself to recharge. It enables those creative cells to fill back up to full battery levels.
Unused holiday leave, can lead to burnout, and it’s thought that 33% of Americans in 2022 (According to the US Travel Association) hadn’t used all of their paid annual leave, increasing their chances of stress and other health related conditions.
Emma Gannon, author, podcast host and writing guru wrote a recent book called The Success Myth, full of tips on how you can look at your work/life differently and how you can align yourself with a different way of thinking about and approaching success. One of the joys of Emma’s Substack reads is a new favourite thread of mine she previously wrote, called, JOMO (The Joy of Missing Out). It’s the perfect excuse to not do something and to relish in the excitement of not doing that thing without feeling bad about it. Stand strong in JOMO, I know I do. Your health, both physical and mental, will thank you for the intentional rest.
With writing, it is important to work in taking time out and day’s out. Sometimes we don’t have enough clarity to be the best in that moment and sometimes we can feel clear headed but the thinking isn’t as crisp as it might be. Working in more than enough time when coordinating a written project or contracted written time, can offer flexibility in the draft and editing stages -- where sections can be broken down and where focus can be precise but adaptable dependent on workloads and deadlines.
Celebrating Your Working (& Life) Wins & Not the Pings
With the pandemic, and with many of us working from home, the lines became hazy between work and home life. The blurring of boundaries can lead to resentment towards our work, even if you’re running your own business, alongside the constant ping of notifications seeking us out whatever the time of day. It’s not just the highs but the lows are moments within our timelines too and both represent an opportunity to learn and embrace where we are on our journey, be it at the start of your business journey, reaching a milestone, taking on new clients, helping a client achieve their goals and adding to their successes. Being the support to someone else’s story, especially your client’s, is, I find a time to most definitely celebrate too. It’s not all connected to ourselves and our own doing but it’s also about others and their wins as well.
For instance, celebrating your wins, like we did as a family last week with our eldest son who has not only worked with me (creating graphics) for his past academic year for experience but also in him completing his first year at college doing Creative Media, was joyous. Winning an award for ‘Strongest Start to his Creative Career,’ was, as a parent the proudest moment to see his progression and to bear witness to the light in his face when he accepted his award.
Knowing the struggle in his journey due to his neurodiverse challenges, it’s a delight to see the blossoming of skill & ability and him finding a professional area he not only loves but is equally talented at too.
With these celebratory moments within or outside of our businesses, we want to take the time to rejoice, be in the moment and to bask in the euphoria of that glory, be it about ourselves, our children, our clients or indeed our wider connection circle.
Mind, Body & Soul: The ‘Things’ That Help You Along the Way
In your business, it’s not just about optimising your output and brandishing on social media how big your workload is, it’s in being smart in how you go about your work as well as looking after yourself along the way. I’ve been guilty of this too and have found days where I feel exhausted and need a break because I’ve pushed my limits.
Last weekend, I went to a yoga event, run by the lovely @derry_jayne (Instagram handle), in a beautiful countryside setting, where you’re surrounded by nature and all of its glorious sounds. It is the only time that I ever switch off my phone for two solid hours and it may be placebo but my shoulders relax, my mind can switch out and my body feels more at peace. See below for a picture of the stunning & picturesque place where I found my zen amongst other like-minded individual’s.
One of best parts of this 2 hour yoga event is in reconnecting with yourself and those around you, in calming your mind to see the beauty in the small and ordinary parts of life that wrap around us all and in gaining perspective. The mindful meditation at the end is one of the most transformative moments where you listen to the meditative steps but also where you can just let you mind wander and truly switch off. Nothing but you, your mind and the fresh air. Being able to complete this practice outdoors, felt like a real treat (as well as the tea and biscuits at the end ;-)).
Being guided on your journey, isn’t just about the people that aid the business side of things but in how you look after yourself outside of your day to day that supports you along your way.
‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants’. Isaac Newton.
Mental Health & Stepping Outside Your Mind
Two of my current reads are, Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon who writes for The Telegraph about her own mental health struggles, addictions and body positivity amongst many other topics with refreshing honesty but also with humour too. This book is an account of how Bryony navigated childhood and beyond with the curveball challenges that mental health brings. It’s a real-life account of the impact and life that can be experienced when you feel that at points your mind is not your own and that it is fighting against you.
This book is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand mental health and its many guises, if you know of anyone who suffers with their mental health and if you suffer yourself. Because recognition is the first step to recovery and understanding ourselves and others – it’s the pathway to how we start to move forward, however slow that needs to be, one day and one step at a time.
The second book is, Hermit by Jade Angeles Fitton and is a memoir that details her regenerative journey of living alone and healing with solitude whilst having the Devonshire landscape at her doorstep.
After the breakdown of a destructive and abusive relationship, Jade finds her own inner guided light to recovery, celebrating being alone in a natural world and discovers the power of our ‘home’, lies beyond our four walls & lives in the land we find ourselves enveloped within.
Can she succeed with life as a hermit in a modern and technologically driven, evolutionary world, such as ours? A purposeful read that we all need, even if we didn’t realise that we did.
Epilogue: Rapid Round-up on Boundaries & Final Thoughts
Writing is a craft that needs to be massaged and planning for creativity doesn’t kill it but instead instigates its flow because writing picks up its pace as you type the words on a page. You can plan your content, shape your copy and you can list your titles and subtitles but sometimes all you need in order to achieve your written goals are some firm boundaries in place to support your work and its output.
Read often, read everything, set healthy boundaries, be firm with yourself and your writing, take time out and plan for time out to preserve your mental and physical health, see the support on your journey and take what is offered, celebrate your wins and that of others and see the beauty in the ordinary everyday miracles that show us that life is more than the screen that sits in front of us.
Carpe Diem ‘Seize the day.’
As always, thank you to my incredibly creative, autistic teen for his excellent graphic work as part of his ongoing work experience for college.