November 1, 2023
Putting boundaries into place is critical for working professionals but can be especially important for coaches and consultants who support and hold space for others. We’re sharing some helpful strategies that we use for you to try.
Drawing the Line Between Work and Personal Time
Setting a boundary while at work can take on many forms. It can look like muting Slack or other notifications while doing deep work or blocking specific times in your calendar for self-care like a walk at lunch.
For after work, consider establishing an “evening reset” that can help you wind down from the workday and get into personal time mode. Things like a quick shower, brief meditation, or changing clothes are great examples. These can help you clear your mind and create a “new day” feel so that you can focus on connecting with your family, taking care of household responsibilities, and properly decompressing.
Workspace Separation and Reset
Physical separation is key for people who work from home and it involves resetting your space and keeping work out of sight.
In order to help psychologically separate work from personal life, you’ll want to create a dedicated workspace within your home or office where you conduct coaching sessions and handle work-related tasks.
If you work out of an office, close the door when your workday is done. If you work in a common area, put all of your work materials including your laptop and papers away and out of sight at the end of each workday. This will help you keep your mind off work so you can transition into focusing on personal or family time.
Own Your Time and Honour What Works for You
Do you struggle with always being on?
Consider going camera-free as an option for some calls. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology noted that using the camera was positively correlated to daily feelings of fatigue; where the number of hours that people spent in virtual meetings was not. This indicates that keeping the camera consistently on during meetings is at the heart of the fatigue problem. If you feel “Zoomed out,” turning the camera off can help reduce that Zoom fatigue.
Try scheduling a weekly no-call day. This practice can be especially beneficial for introverts as it gives your body and mind a day to recharge from social interaction and it provides valuable time for you to invest in uninterrupted deep work.
When creating your availability for call bookings, make sure that calls won’t overlap with other professional commitments or personal time.
Instead of checking email at all hours, which can put you right back into work mode and cause unnecessary stress, designate specific times during the day to check your inbox and reply to messages.
Establish Communication Guidelines
Creating clarity around client communication channels is a boundary that helps you compartmentalize work and personal communications, and maintain privacy.
Set the tone during client onboarding by clearly communicating which communication channels you’ll use in your work together and the response time they can expect from you.
Do clients need to have your cell phone number when you have regularly scheduled Zoom meetings? Could you use a two-way messaging app like Voxer to communicate with text/voice/images in between scheduled coaching sessions instead? Would a desktop messaging app like Slack work if communications are less time-sensitive?
These considerations are key to maintaining personal privacy and helping you further create separation between work and your personal life.
Seek Support and Accountability
If sticking to these strategies is difficult, consider joining a peer group or working with a mentor or coach of your own. They can provide you with the guidance, support, and accountability you need in creating and sticking to boundaries between work and your personal life.
Regularly assessing your work-life boundaries will allow you to highlight what strategies are working and which ones are not so you can make adjustments as needed to ensure you’re protecting your mental health, privacy, and personal time effectively.
Remember that this is an ongoing process. It will take time to figure out what it looks like for you and how to achieve it effectively. Maintaining separation and boundaries will require discipline, effective time management, and clear communication with clients and colleagues.
Could you use some help putting a more structured process into place when it comes to work-life separation and effective boundaries? Reach out to us to discuss our guided accountability and project management package OR book a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to explore what working together might look like.