How to set boundaries to protect your personal life

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from Tina F.

Neagle Code Question

Hi David,

I’m becoming aware that I have a boundary issue… meaning I don’t have boundaries around my business life and my personal life. My business is bleeding into every area of my life. Even my friendships and relationships are steeped in my business to the point where I feel like I can’t have a genuine conversation without someone in my life asking for coaching or business tips. How to I start to set boundaries for myself?

Thanks!

Neagle Code Answer

Hi Tina, and thanks for this question.

The fact that you see your business life and personal life as one is a key indicator that you have not set proper boundaries for your life and in your relationships.

Your business life should be your business life, and your personal life should be your personal life.

Here are some suggestions on how to set proper boundaries:

1) Have a set start and end time to your day. Do not let your work invade your personal time. Work will always fill the time you allot it, so you may find that you are much more efficient when you have a limited time to work on your business. Use your calendar and stick to it!

2) Get involved in something outside your business. If you like to travel, join a travel club. If you like to read, join a book club. If you like to hike, join a hiking club. This will expose you to people who know nothing about your business, but still share the same interests that you do. They won’t want anything from you except your thoughts on your favorite destination, book, or hiking trail.

3) Schedule time with your current friends and gently let them know that you’re not open to a conversation about your business, and you don’t feel you can be their coach and their friend at the same time. You’d much rather be their friend. If you’re worried about what you’ll talk about, think about purchasing a small box of conversation starters. They are great to spark new and interesting conversations.

4) Do some journaling about who you are outside of your business. You need to begin to realize that your business is not your identity.

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4 comments

  1. Another tip would be to prepare and practice a polite response to those who ask for professional help. Example: “My office phone is X. If you’ll call and make an appointment during my office hours I’d be happy to explore your needs.”
    Having your statement “at the ready” will help in those moments.

    • Thanks for sharing Roger. It’s always good to have a standard response in these types of situations. That being said, ‘no’ is a complete sentence and a great way to set a boundary.

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