setting and sticking to boundaries
For those that have known me a long time know I am one of those people who can and will run themselves into the ground because of work. 
I love what I do, and I do what I love. But, going back, not even that long ago, I used to run myself into the ground. I’d work 24/7 if it meant I could help someone and their business. 
I would help my clients create solid foundations and systems, set boundaries, and achieve their goals, all whilst killing myself. Back in another life, I was in the recruitment industry. This was literally a 24/7 job. If we weren’t in the office, we’d be on-call. Monday – Sunday. 365 days a year. I remember sitting on a beach in Mexico with my computer – that was when I was employed! 
When I changed careers, I took this 24/7 habit with me. It was one of the worst things I could have done. Again, I was loving my job but still killing myself in the process. 
I have epilepsy. Most people, when they think of epilepsy, think of the shaking seizures (Tonic-clonic or Grand Mal). People think epileptics have those, have a nap, and then go about their day/life. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Firstly, there are 11 types of seizures. I’ve had at least 6 types, that we know of. You know me, can’t just pick one. I put my brain under stress, it in turn tries to stop me, which puts my body and all the other organs in danger. Fun fact: An epileptic seizure can trigger a heart attack. When I wake up, headache and muscle ache aside, I can FEEL how bad a seizure was because of the pain in my heart. 
Day to day stress can cause me to have seizures, so, I need to be careful. As I said, I USED to run myself into the ground. I’m getting better in my old age, but I still have work to do. One of the things I have to remind me to slow down is an intubation tubes they used on me when my body finally said, ‘enough is enough’. After I was deemed stable, and the tube was removed I’d somehow got hold of that little orange tube and would not let go. I left the hospital with it and have kept it as a reminder that no task, no job, no person, nothing is worth my life. But I’m not perfect here, I still need reminders from time to time too. 
I told one of my mentees the full story the other day and it left them a little bit lost for words. In fact, their reaction also hit me in the feels. It was a reminder that I needed to re-evaluate my life boundaries again. It’s always good to ensure your habits and boundaries are still working for you. Sometimes our lives slowly change and we keep the same old boundaries, before we know it we’ve moved on but the boundaries we had in place no longer serve to protect us. 
Aside from setting goals and building systems, are you setting boundaries to help protect your health? Are you looking after number one? I have a brain that stops me when things get too much. How about you? What signals is your body giving you that that you might need to introduce new boundaries, or adhere to old ones? 
Are there tasks / people in your life that need to be removed or maybe they need to be told there are a new set of rules you’ll be playing to going forward? 
One of the things I like to do with my clients or mentees is get a big piece of paper and write down all the things that you do. If you're including life tasks, try to keep life and business separate, even if you work from home. In this case, get two big pieces of paper and write down all that you do. Then take the time to put all the tasks into lists - 'Must be me', 'Could Outsource', 'Keep because it brings me joy'. I give my clients at least 7 days to build their list. I tell them to add to it every time they do a new task. Don't even try to put things into lists until you've managed to fill the page.  
Once the page is full, start the list building exercise. Build the lists as if money is no object. So even if you can't afford to outsource your marketing right now, still add it to the outsourcing list. Discard the 'Must be me' list as right now, those things can't and won't be changed. take the 'Brings me joy' list and ask yourself, are these things essential and if so, do they bring me joy if I'm too busy or stressed? If the answer is no, they transfer to your 'Could outsource' list.  
Now, this list is important because it's full of things that cause you stress or could cause you stress if they stay on your plate for two long. If your budget isn't quite stretching as far as outsourcing yet, you could look at new ways to automate your current systems. This allows you to put time boundaries in place because you're letting an automated system take over the work. An automated booking system could save you lots of time when it comes to booking appointments. Setting up email templates is another great way of saving time. Having an auto responder on your emails taking people to a FAQs page on your website may also give you more time to work on other areas of your business.  
Going through this process will also give you a great idea of where your time is being spent, where your stress factors are and where you need to create boundaries. Work form home but keep getting disturbed? You need to communicate what the boundary is why you're putting it into place. Clients contacting you out of hours? Remind them what your working hours are. If they don't respect your working hours / boundaries, then they don't respect you. This is a problem, and you may want to think about dumping them as you build your new boundaries.  
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to building a less stressed life, get in touch and I’ll be more than happy to help you re-evaluate what you have going on. Maybe I can give you some ideas where you could outsource in your business, or maybe there are systems you can put in place to help automate your life. Alongside the VA side of things I am also a Business Mentor. If you would like more structured assistance in your business then, please do get in touch.  
Until Next Time, 
Dee x 
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