We’ve all been brought up on films and TV shows with characters who fit into either the ‘love for life’ category or the ‘workaholic’ category. We never see a character that loves their job, works super hard but also makes sure to take time off and relax. They’re always on holiday and having to check their phone or being drawn away from their family time by a demanding boss or work emergency. But what if you could love your job and still have healthy boundaries for personal time?

As a society, we seem to have decided that we can either have a successful business, or we can have an exciting and fulfilling personal life, but not both. Well, that’s just bollocks. There is no rule that you have to sacrifice your health, your family, your friends or your personality for your business. So, how can we make sure that we have both? Is there anything we can do today that can start creating that healthy work/life balance we all crave?

*Blog recommendation: Is your business your life’s purpose?

Setting up boundaries early on

As soon as you even think about becoming an entrepreneur, you should be thinking about the boundaries you need to set. One of the first things I did was set clear working hours and times of the day when I was free to be contacted. These were non-negotiable, because as soon as you say ‘oh just this one time…’ you’ve opened flood gates that are very hard to close back up.

Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.

— Betsy Jacobson

Sometimes it may seem like you’re being unreasonable when you ignore a call from a client or customer because you’ve committed to taking a break or you’re working on another task, but your time is your own, you decide how you spend it. Time is the most valuable asset we have as entrepreneurs and if we’re not careful how we spend it, we can find ourselves always feeling like we have a lack of it, resulting in stress, panic and overworking.

Placing your value in the right places at the right times

This idea around time flows nicely into my next point. You need to be clear about what you value in your life as a whole. Just because you love your business and you want it to succeed more than anything, it doesn’t mean that you can’t value other aspects of your life.

Strive not be a success, but to be of value.
— Albert Einstein

Choosing where to place your value and when is another way to build those boundaries. During work hours, your value may be placed with the tasks you’ve got listed on your to-do list or the meeting you’ve got set up. Once you log off, where do you then place your value? Is it in your wellbeing? Is it with your family? This is another form of boundary setting, which will help you find more focus and intention in the present moment, instead of allowing your thoughts to roam all over the place and leave you feeling frazzled.

Paying attention to your energy

Every morning, take a second and think to yourself ‘What does my energy feel like today? What energy do I need more of?’ If you’re struggling to get motivated, or you know for a fact that the day isn’t going to productive, then adjust your day accordingly. Do tasks that are quick and don’t require you to focus for long periods of time. Do things that require you to be moving about a lot to keep your energy flowing. Set yourself an early finish time. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and keep adjusting to accommodate.

I know that if I’ve had insomnia the night before, I won’t be able to get a huge task list done, so I move things around so that I can still be productive, but in a way that takes my energy levels into consideration.

Flexibility with your working hours

This is one that has taken me a while to get used to coming from regular 9-5 jobs. I’m now a lot more flexible and forgiving with my working hours, pushing tasks back an hour or two, or starting later and finishing later. However, I always make sure I have time for myself, both in the morning and in the evening. What I physically can not fit into one working day, gets pushed back to the next day.

You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.
— Oprah Winfrey

Having complete flexibility with your working hours is yet another perk of working for yourself, so don’t be afraid to indulge in it, especially when you’re feeling a bit rundown or in need of a slower working day.

Having moderation as an entrepreneur is completely unique to you, your needs, your values, your energy, so there is no one size fits all solution. A lot of what I’ve learned about moderation as a business owner has been through trial and error. If you put something into place that you think will make you more productive, but actually just leaves you feeling tired and stressed, scrap it and try something else. Nobody gets it right on the first go, so be kind to yourself and be mindful of your wellbeing.