As we approach the end of the year, many of you are looking over your shoulder and wondering “what just happened?!” With all the chaos around us, and possibly more to come, navigating the road to success should include balance and establishing boundaries. 
 
We are no longer working from home; we are living at work. Couple this with the technology that enables immediate responses creating 24 hour a day availability and you’ve got a dangerous work environment which can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional well-being. Establishing the boundaries of a true workspace and work hours will help you to obtain balance.
 
Even though your phone pings with a client email alert…you don’t have to answer it immediately.
 
When your client texts you after hours…you don’t have to reply until the next day. 
 
It is OK to say NO!
 
It is OK to tell a client, “maybe we aren’t the right fit.” 
 
When you value yourself and your time, your client will too. While it is important to set boundaries, it’s equally important that your response to a boundary crashing event follows a professional protocol.
 
Establish clear-cut “business hours” and make your clients/vendors aware of them. An email auto-responder (i.e., out of office) with your hours spelled out can go a long way in achieving balance.
 
Step away from the phone! Unless it’s an emergency, stick to your published hours. It’s not easy and may require superhuman strength but this is the way to teach people how you want to be treated.
 
Stop checking emails at all times of the day or night. Communications during your business hours are perfectly fine, but there is no need to respond to every general email immediately.
Respect professional protocol. Yes, during COVID communication has become more informal. However, most people know a 6 a.m. Sunday morning text is inappropriate – not only in business, but in general! Don’t expect others to be at your beck and call. 
 
Studies have shown that the key to success at work and home is to find time to rest and recharge. Protect your downtime. Just because you CAN respond 24/7 doesn’t mean you should. 2020 is coming to an end and will certainly go down as a strange one. Look back, learn, and move forward. 
 
“Balance is not something you FIND, it’s something you CREATE.” - Jana Kingsford
 

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