Do you want your writing business to be successful? I’m sure your answer is the same as mine: “Yes, of course I do.”
Maybe you feel stuck and frustrated or stressed and stretched because you are not achieving your business and writing goals. Perhaps you need to look at your boundaries.
Take a minute to imagine your writing life and business as a garden. What does your garden look like? Are the flower beds neat? Are there plants growing in them? Do you water your garden, add fertilizer, and prune your plants? Is your garden thriving?
Or is it overgrown with weeds choking out the plants?
Is there a fence around your garden, what does that fence look like? Does it have a gate that regulates what comes in and out?
Perhaps there isn’t a fence and people are trampling through your garden, messing it up, and leaving garbage behind?
To grow your writing business, you need to take it seriously and take control. Think carefully about where you’re spending your time and resources. It may be necessary to set some boundaries.
Why do you need boundaries?
Boundaries are empowering. When you have boundaries in place …
You maintain your focus and have control over your writing business and life. Where you are going and what you need to do will be clearer.
Your decision-making improves.Clear boundaries help you make decisions based on your goals and what you are willing to allow into your writing life. It is like choosing who you will open the gate of your garden to. When you know your own boundaries, it is easier to decide what is important and what you will say “yes” or “no” to.
From here, the benefits have a domino effect:
You will have more time and energy for things that are important and add value to your business.
Your concentration and productivity improve.You’ll be less distracted by having too many things to do. You’ll waste less time and energy worrying over trivial tasks and you will have more time to focus on tasks that add value.
You will get better at what you do, add new skills, and improve creativity.More time and energy spent on important tasks means you will be practicing them more and getting better at them. Your productivity and efficiency improve.
When you get more efficient at doing one thing, it gives you the chance to build more skills or concentrate on other areas of your business that will help it to grow.
Being able to do tasks with more ease means you can free up your mind for higher thinking and more creativity in your work.
Collectively these factors help you build a better business and propel you along your path to success.
Your stress levels will be reduced.Boundaries help prevent fatigue and exhaustion — enemies to your mind and productivity. Concentration, creativity, and productivity cannot flourish if your mental and physical resources are depleted. Saying “yes” to every request will drain and exhaust you.
Your business will grow.
Your self-worth increases.As you hone your skills and your business grows, you will have a sense of achievement. Your confidence grows with each new skill you refine and each step you take towards your goal. You feel worthy by building something valuable and successful.
ou improve your relationships and prevent resentment.It may be difficult in the beginning. If you are usually too accommodating, those around you may not like that you now say “no” at times and have different priorities.
You determine how other people treat you. If someone continually asks too much of you, you can become resentful. But if you always make exceptions for them, then you are responsible for letting that person treat you that way.
Setting boundaries shows others both personally and professionally that your time is valuable, you take your work seriously, and that you are professional. They will learn to respect you, your time, and the way you work.
As a writer, you are your most valuable asset. If you don’t look after yourself and put fences around your writing life to protect and nurture it; you are neglecting your asset and cannot expect your writing career to flourish.
Signs that you have problems with boundaries
The first step to deciding if you need to set some new boundaries is to look for signs that you’re having problems in this area. Things like …
- You feel stressed, stuck, or frustrated
- You make lots of excuses
- You don’t have enough time
- You spend too much time on one task
- You keep making exceptions to your boundaries
- You have a hard time saying “no”
- You have too many interruptions when you are working
How do you set boundaries?
Start by taking stock. Look at where you are now and what you have achieved with your writer’s life goals. Ask yourself these questions:
- How successful have I been and why?
- Where is my time and energy spent?
- How productive am I?
- What are my excuses?
- What are my interruptions?
Then move onto the following:
- What do you want your life to look like? Make it as clear as possible and write it down.
- Do step-by-step goal setting. Remember to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-oriented).
- For some of us (like me) setting boundaries is difficult. Start with one step at a time if you have to.
- Set up systems. Have templates, policies, and procedures in place. Your work will flow more easily and less time will be taken up having to make decisions or explain to others how you work. You’ll save time and energy and reduce your stress.
- Communicate your boundaries to those who are affectedThen they will be able to understand, support you, or work in a way that complements you.
- Use tools to help you maintain your boundariesThis could mean using a timer to ensure you work for a set amount of time without interruption. Having templates and guidelines at hand keeps you focused and productive. Wealthy Web Writer has some great templates. Having a system in place for how you work improves your work rate. Use pictures to remind you of your boundaries or apps that block websites, Facebook, and other distractions.
- Evaluate your boundaries and modify if necessary
Boundaries need to have flexibility. When they are too rigid, it leads to isolation and stagnation, so your business can’t grow.
When you set boundaries and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in your career, it becomes easier to say “no” to what you don’t want. Boundaries are limits that allow growth and create space for what you do want in your life.
Do you find it easy or hard to set boundaries? Do you have tips on how you handle your boundaries? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.