Last week I chatted with my mailing list community about gaining a whole new perspective on my business during these challenging times. It took working with a 15-year old to come to the realization that I was no longer having fun in my business. In the email, I shared:

“I tend to work REAL fast, staying uber-focused on each task… The result is LOTS of stress, and not a lot of fun. But seeing my career through the eyes of my new teammate, Nova, gave me a whole new appreciation for the job. Turns out, a teenager’s fresh perspective was exactly what I needed to feel re-inspired.”

Seeing my business from the perspective of a beginner jolted me back into MY WHY. This may be different for each of us, but I started a business to have ultimate freedom to make decisions about my schedule, my time, and the types of projects I take on.

But instead, over the years, I realized my business was giving me the opposite.

As cities start to open back up and we are left trying to navigate what this new Covid-19 ‘normal’ looks like, I’ve been reflecting on what this means for me, as a business owner. At Re:Creative (and probably at your workplace, too!) we will be operating with a limited staff capacity, ensuring strict safety measures are in place at all times, and accepting shifts to the way we operate. This will include adding measures – and boundaries – that keep our staff, clients, and selves safe.

But here’s an unexpected opinion, among unexpected circumstances: change might not be all bad, after all. This might be the new start we all need to start seeing our businesses through fresh eyes.

Over the last month, while I have continued to work, I’ve also had the opportunity to sit back and find new perspective on my life and business. I’ve realized the parts of my business that truly feed my soul — which, you guessed it – also comes alongside realizing the parts that don’t.

More so, I’ve started taking notice of new priorities –  the elements I can incorporate every day to “enjoy the little things,” as they say.

The need for boundaries – in all elements of life and work – has been coming up BIG TIME. It took a world pandemic to show me the beauty in boundary-setting (even if some have been set for us), and a good friend to guide me to do some deep thinking. 

When you have a one-on-one type of business model, setting boundaries is crucial, and something I only recently discovered I’ve been lacking.

Here are some examples of the boundaries I’ll be working to implement:

Service boundaries: Here is a truly WILD thought: it’s your business so you can set the rules. If you require certain things from your clients in order to complete their project, then make those expectations CLEAR. These rules and items are put in place so you can do your job well (which, feel free to remind them, they’re paying good money for!). You have the power to put protocols in place to ensure your process is respected. And if it isn’t, it might look like an additional charge, or pushing back the project’s timeline.

Alignment boundaries: Getting clear about the type of work and clients you want to work with is key. Having a lack mentality (aka, taking on projects that don’t feel right just because you’re scared another one won’t come your way) almost always end with feelings of regret and resentment. Listen. To. Your. Gut. When something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to turn down a new client or project. This “no” will make space for a “heck yes.”

Work Hours: As a business owner, it can be super hard to locate our off switch… But the time we aren’t working is just as valuable. Recharging means more PRESENCE in our business, and our lives off the clock, too! Set your work schedule (hiii, you’re the boss, remember?!) and determine clear guidelines about when a client can contact you and expect a reply. Pro Tip: If you do find yourself inspired + burning the midnight oil on a whim, schedule your emails to send during working hours, so your clients don’t get expectations twisted! It’s up to you to enforce the boundaries you set.

Task batching: I’ve heard the term task batching from a few business podcasts I listen to, and let me just admit that I could *definitely* benefit from implementing this concept. In a single work day, I jump around from different projects, to emails, to text messages, to calls, to social media. It’s… not the best way to foster efficiency when it comes to your workload. When you group together a list of similar tasks during a specific time period without interruptions, you will cut down on the time it takes for your brain to switch and refocus between different tasks. Maybe you have a “writing day,” or a “meeting day.” Whatever makes sense for your industry, set up firm task boundaries in your day and stick to them.

Now that I’ve gotten a taste (albeit, mostly fleeting) of what it means to slow down, I want to ensure I am carrying this forward into the next chapter of this year, whatever that may look like. I took the past weekend to sit in my thoughts and journal about how I want my business to look, how I want it to make me feel and what kind of life I want to have. Taking this time to do that gave me the clarity I needed about the decisions I need to make to get there. Decisions that will serve me and my clients in the best way.

So, ask yourself:

What do you want your business to look like when this is all over?

And how about your life?

You can download a copy of my journal prompts right here.