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Boundaries In Business ‒ How To Protect Your Time And Energy

Written by: Anna Filatova, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

When you work for yourself, you wear a lot of hats so it’s essential to set boundaries and protect your time and energy. Without firm boundaries in business, it’s difficult to function at your best.


Time and energy are the most valuable things that you have as a business owner. However, not all business owners see it that way. Some think that by working long hours and cutting down on breaks and sleep, they will achieve their goals faster. It might be a temporary solution but in the long run it’s not sustainable.

When you understand and learn how to protect your time and energy, you choose your wellbeing as a priority. You will feel motivated, empowered and productive rather than overwhelmed, frustrated and distracted.


Here are a few signs that you need to start focusing on protecting your time and energy:

  • You have trouble saying no

  • Your inbox and calendar are out of control

  • You’re very busy but you don’t feel like anything gets done

  • You work long hours

  • You feel tired all the time


You can see why protecting your time and energy is important. Setting boundaries in business help you remain disciplined with your work, feel in control of your daily activities, stay engaged with your priorities and spend your days the way you want them to spend.


Below are 7 ways to help you protect your time and energy:


Communicate boundaries with your family, friends and clients


Let your friends and family know when you can be reached on the phone so that you don’t get unexpected calls when you are busy. Learn to say no to the meetings and events that you don’t want to attend. For example, if it’s a late event and you have a presentation in the morning.


Do the same with your clients. Set boundaries with each client at the very beginning and explain when you can be reachable and how they can get in touch with you. For example, my clients know that it might take me up to 24 hours to get back to them via email and that I don’t do any calls outside working hours.


Manage your diary


I love diary management. It keeps me organized and on track with my daily activities. If it’s not in my diary, it doesn’t exist.


If a task is very big, don’t block 4 hours to do it. Instead, break it down into smaller chunks and steps. It’s much easier to complete a 15 – 30-minute task than a 4-hour project and get overwhelmed in the process. You can even group 5-minute tasks into one 30-minute group and complete them all at once.


Always build in buffer time to avoid overlaps and running late for your next meeting.

I also use a colour-coding system. You can categorize things into groups and have a much better overview of what is happening in your calendar. You can have one colour for all external meetings, another colour for travel, the third one for prospecting clients, fourth for personal things and so on.

Manage your inbox


Can you keep up with your inbox? Email is one of the biggest time-wasters so block some time in your diary to catch-up on your emails and find a system that works for you. Some people check their emails only twice a day, some prefer to clear them on the weekends.


Spend some time unsubscribing from the emails that you no longer want to receive and use flags and a colour-coding system for different types of emails that need to be actioned depending on their priority.


A good practice is also to create different folders and sub-folders and categorize the emails that you would like to keep but not in your actual inbox.


Clear your space


Many companies recently adapted a clean desk policy to allow hot desking and avoid confidential information being lost. When you’re working from home, you should have a similar policy and ensure that your working space is decluttered.


Letting go of stuff that you no longer need and keeping your desk clean and tiny, allows you to be more productive, motivated and efficient. It also helps your mental well-being by reducing stress and helping you concentrate better.


Focus on revenue generating activities


I hear a lot from my clients that they don’t have time for everything that needs to be done on a daily basis but when we look at their tasks and to-do lists, it shows that most of their time is focused on non-revenue generating activities. And then they wonder why they get very little revenue.


You won’t be able to move your business forward if that’s what you are focusing on. Even though as business owners we might have to wear a lot of hats, it is about putting priorities in place and ensuring that your time is spent on the activities that will generate the revenue for your business.


If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you spend most of your time on activities that are not bringing any revenue, it’s time to re-evaluate your choices. Consider delegating some tasks or outsourcing to someone else. Even if it will cost you money, think how much more revenue you can generate if you actually focus your time on those tasks that will bring you money.


Also, consider the amount of time that you spend on your meetings. Can you shorten the amount of time you spend meeting with people? If a meeting is usually 30 minutes, can it be done in 15 or 20 minutes if everyone comes prepared and don’t talk about irrelevant stuff?


Schedule time for yourself


You are the most valuable asset of your company and can’t properly represent it if you don’t take care of yourself first. You need to be on the top of your game when you meet clients. You should be well-rested and energized.


Ensure that you schedule time for yourself every day. It can be a walk during lunch, meditation in the morning, gym in the afternoon or a hobby in the evening. Pick something you love and that makes you happy and add it to your calendar.


Also make sure that you take regular breaks during the day. Even 5 minutes every hour or two will help you to stay productive throughout the day.


Find an accountability partner


Having someone who you can talk to about what is going on in your business is invaluable.

Your business is always evolving and you might have days and weeks when you feel like things are not going the way you want them to go.


Find an accountability partner who can talk things through with you on a regular basis. It can be a business friend, coach, mentor or even someone you’ve recently met at a conference.


If you are looking for an accountability partner and a coach, I’d be happy to speak with you. Book a free complimentary call with me here.


For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


 

Anna Filatova, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anna is the founder and CEO of Dreams and Beyond Coaching Ltd, a coaching and mentoring firm that was founded in March 2020. The company offers a variety of services including 1:1 coaching and mentoring, one day intensives, group programs, trainings, courses, workshops and DISC personality profiling. The services are available internationally as most of the work can be done online.

Anna believes that people are the most valuable asset of any business or organization and true success comes from finding the right balance and owning your inner power. Therefore, her work is heavily focused on people’s performance, development and wellbeing.

As a qualified Business and Executive Coach, Anna supports individuals to unlock their potential and make progress within their leadership roles in business and organizations without compromising on their personal wellbeing. She also helps develop high performing teams to support business and organizational growth.

Anna earned an Honours BA Degree in Business Studies in International Hotel Management from National University of Ireland Galway in 2011 and a MBA for Executives with Global Perspective from London School of Commerce in 2015.

Anna spent 9 years in Hotel Management and 7 years in Investment Banking. When she was 25, she had burnout that made her realize that health, well-being and work-life balance are more important than killing herself for a fast career progression.

Anna has written for Thrive Global and she is a Senior Executive Contributor to Brainz Magazine. She has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Intrado, Latestly, Entrepreneur Mogul and Zee5 News and invited as a guest speaker in Ireland and the UK. She has been nominated for the Women’s Business Awards 2021 (Category: Best New Business of the Year) and awarded the Brainz CREA Global Award 2021 in recognition for my creative and innovative ideas, and adaptability in business.


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