In the last few years I’ve led with one main goal: to do anything and everything to protect my peace. Why? Because success to me means feeling at peace in my life and work. Waking up and not feeling anxious or stressed but being on this peaceful pursuit. So while I absolutely still have goals for my business, I more so have a vision for what I want my LIFE to be – not just what I want it to look like but how I want it to feel.
Maybe you’re in a similar season, a season where you want to be ambitious but you don’t want that ambition to lead to burnout. Where you want to create boundaries but you don’t want to miss out on opportunities. Where you still want to be in pursuit but you have a deep desire to feel content in the day-to-day. That leads me to one of my all-time MVPS of my life: boundaries.
So how do we do all of this? It often means getting clear on exact boundaries that will let us protect those pieces of our lives and not slip into hustle mode just because a fancy opportunity bounces our way. In this episode, I’m sharing 12 personal boundaries I’ve set up for myself that you are more than welcome to borrow in order to protect your own peace, whatever that looks like to you. Here are a few to get you started, but be sure to tune into the episode for the full list. Okay, let’s dive in.
No cell phone notifications while I work
My phone basically lives in DND mode! I don’t want notifications on my phone for things like email or texts to suddenly pull me away from the task at hand and send me into reaction mode vs. proactive mode. I even have to ask permission before texting unless it’s something urgent. It helps that I’m not required to use my phone to do work, and almost everything I do can be completed on a computer so I can keep my phone on “do not disturb” or even airplane-mode and not worry about dings pulling me away from what I actually want and need to focus on. (Forest app!)
Keeping my workspace calm and chaos-free
I laughed at my top Spotify last year because it was a mix of zen and worship music, two types of music that just calm me down. I know it sounds funny, but this actually does feel like a micro-boundary in that it allows my headspace to remain at ease and peaceful, even if I might be cranking out work or trying to finish something big on a tight deadline. When I’m doing not-so-focused work, I listen to meditations on Spotify and just subconsciously hearing things like, “Take a deep breath” or “Release your shoulders” helps me just stay in the zone and not stress out.
Lead with a “no” and then be convinced to a “yes”.
This might sound cynical and sometimes, especially early in business, your default needs to be a “yes” as you grow and build your business. But as you gain experience and more opportunities come your way, the shift from always-yes to “it’s a not until I’m convinced it’s a yes” can be HARD. But necessary. These days, for me it’s a “no” for any ask outside of my brand or work, just so that I can focus on my family. That means speaking engagements, brand partnerships, you name it, I’m saying no to most of them in order to focus on my own business and my family first. Plus, instead of defaulting to “yes” and then backing out, which is SO much harder in the end, I default to “no” and then see if there’s room or an opportunity for a yes.
Planning in advance and communicating my plans.
Can I be honest with you? This whole “planning” and “communicating my plans” thing is NEW for me. I’m used to doing what I can do when I can do it, changing plans (or making plans) last minute when I see a great opportunity, and going with the flow. But because of this season of life with a toddler, a baby, and a busy business, I feel like because I’m juggling so much, I’ve gotten really good at setting a schedule and sharing it with those involved. This might look like choosing 2 days a month to record the podcast and then planning accordingly, or looping in Drew and my mom on when I have to travel for work. My schedule is more rigid these days than ever before, and I surprisingly don’t hate it because it’s what my brain needs to unplug and know I will have focused time to work or get things done.
Protecting my phone number!
I feel like not one of us needs another endless text convo, right?! As much as I love connecting with friends via text or voice text or phone calls, I also can easily get so caught up in responding to people that I become less present in real life with the actual people right in front of me. So now, if someone asks for my number but it’s only about work stuff, I try to redirect to my inbox to keep my phone time more minimal. Same with things like Facebook messages or DMs, if it’s something specific or work related, I always direct to my inbox so that I can keep tabs and receipts, or even get help if I need help responding. It helps keep me in “life mode” when I don’t get texts about work stuff on random days or at random times.
The Big Picture
In my book I say this: boundaries aren’t solely for keeping people, or whatever powers that be, out . . . they’re a tool that can keep you in your life. Boundaries protect yourself from staying in constant motion because that’s when we stay so busy and distracted we stop listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, or hearing our intuition.
Once I finally understood where my yes belonged and where boundaries were needed, I became obsessed with operating out my enough-ness, which, in turn, freed up my greatness. Those boundaries didn’t hold me back like I was afraid they would. They didn’t contract anything. They expanded everything. As my schedule widened, my life opened up to something far beyond “work.”
It’s funny because reviewing this list goes to show how small tweaks can end up making a drastic difference – like moving your phone to another room or saying no by default instead of yes. These aren’t enormous, time-consuming, draining changes, but they’re little things that might not feel easy or comfortable at first to uphold, but end up saving you so much time and energy in the long run. Boundaries can be the catalyst for reaching more fulfillment, ease, and joy in your work life, relationships, and beyond – but it’s all about discovering and defining what you need and then making sure you have a plan to follow through. I hope you got some ideas today for small boundaries you might be able to implement in your life to better protect your peace.