Do you have clear boundaries around your work? Is there a time each day that you turn off work in your head? Do you have a day of the week when you completely disconnect from work for a few hours or a whole day?
If you are currently an hourly employee, then the following advice might be difficult, but for the rest of you…I want to rescue you from your work.
1. Schedule your down time before your work time.
If you’re going to set healthy boundaries around your work, then it has to start with you.
In an interview with Productive Magazine, Laura Stack talked about how she sets boundaries around her work:
“The biggest thing in my life to me is to be a mother and a wife and if I fail there I fail everywhere. My kids are 10, 11, and 16, and I’m just like everyone else, trying to run a house and I’m married and I’m in business. For example at the beginning of each year I block out 4 weeks of vacation on the calendar and it’s non–negotiable. It’s hard if you don’t create the boundaries for yourself first.”
Take a look at your calendar right now and intentionally schedule some downtime. What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. You have to schedule your “off time” or it probably will never happen.
“Decide ahead of time your downtime.” [Tweet this]
2. Limit your working hours on purpose
Number of hours worked should never be a measure of productivity. Results should be our measure. One of the hardest mental shifts for a self-employed individual is to move from trading time for dollars to results for dollars.
Somehow we think that since we spent 50+ hours on our new business, we have progressed. That is not always true. Zig Ziglar used to always point out that we are the most productive the day before vacation.
Why is that?
Parkinson’s law is in full effect. A task will expand to fill the time that is allotted for it. The bottom line is more hours worked doesn’t equal more productivity.
“More hours worked doesn’t equal more productivity.” [Tweet this]
3. Set personal policies in place to enforce your intentions
I wrote a more lengthy post on this in the past, but it needs mentioning here. Setting personal policies is good for all of us, but especially to those of you who are self-employed. Work will follow you well into the evening, if you don’t have personal policies in place.
A few examples of personal policies, could be:
- I have dinner each night with my family no matter what.
- I will walk out at shut my home office door every day at 5:00pm to symbolize that I am closed for the day
- I can only work on planning on the weekends
“Your intentions to work less mean nothing until you develop your own personal policies to follow.” [Tweet this]
4. Delegate the stuff you can teach someone else to do
How much time in your week is spent on tasks outside of your core genius? How would your work be different if you were able to spend the majority of your week in your areas of strengths?
This doesn’t begin to happen until we value delegating the things we can teach someone else to do. You don’t have to do everything, you just think you do.
If you can answer yes to these two questions, then delegate the task:
- Is this a repetitive task with a predictable process?
- Can this be taught to someone else?
You should be focused on the things that only you can do. When you value delegation, leverage enters into your life. Leverage is when things get done without you doing them.
“Productivity is not about doing more stuff; it’s about doing the right stuff.” -Michael Hyatt [Tweet this]
Question: What is one step you can take this week to place better boundaries around your work? You can leave a comment by clicking here.