When you’re a working homeschool mom, setting boundaries for your business or job is crucial for success in both areas. It is important to set personal and professional standards with your children and clients in terms of workload, timelines, and even payments to present yourself as a professional and responsible (mom and) worker.
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The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Contrary to popular belief, boundaries should be set for yourself just as much as for others. In fact, recent research from Purdue University suggests that setting work-life boundaries as remote workers positively impacts physical health, reduces stress, and just plain makes us all happier.
Without setting boundaries, you’ll possibly fall into the trap of trying to do all and be all. And that can have devastating long-term health consequences when your plate is already full as a working, homeschooling mother.
Boundaries also help you stay on track with tasks, activities, and goals. It’s a great idea to establish boundaries for every area in life – especially business – to prevent from getting stressed and burnt out.
How to Set Boundaries for Business When You Homeschool
Although the suggestions made below pertain particularly for business, the principles can be applied in every area of life.
1. Create a contract
Not only do contracts protect your business and work, but you can also use it as an opportunity to communicate your work hours, mandatory time off, payment specifications, and any other information pertinent to how you conduct business.
When a client signs your contract, they agree to all stated (unless they say otherwise); therefore, make sure you abide by what’s stated. Don’t get into the habit of working beyond the hours you have set. Speaking of which…
2. Setting boundaries includes establishing a work schedule
If you haven’t done so already, create a work schedule for yourself. Your work schedule can be divided into time blocks and then filled with the day’s tasks that need to be completed. Keep in mind that your work hours can be different from your correspondence hours.
Schedule in times to answer emails, take calls, conduct meetings, and so on. Make sure your schedule flows with everything else you have going on in life.
3. Keep communication lines open
In the event you find yourself having to miss a deadline, let your client (or boss) know. If you need to reschedule something, let them know. Need more time on a project? Ask.
When communication is open, it makes for a stronger work relationship and shows your willingness to be honest. At the end of the day, we are all human. Things will happen and changes will happen.
4. Use a planner to stay organized
Lack of organization is one of the top reasons why work and life boundaries break. Part of keeping them sturdy is to always know what you’re doing, what is expected of you, and what is expected of others.
This includes keeping track of times, due dates, deadlines, and the like. Use your planner to notate all things business-related. Some moms use one planner for work and homeschool, while others (like myself) use two separate planners. Important and need-to-know dates that affect one or the other are documented in both, but the majority of it is separate.
5. Remove any and all distractions
This includes turning your phone off or on silent and being intentional about staying focused. While you’re at it, make every effort to not mix working while homeschooling. This means no answering emails from your phone while your children seem occupied with an assignment or vice versa.
Whatever boundary you want to get set, you have to be intentional about creating the habit around it. If you train yourself to multitask, chances are you will be less productive.
Setting boundaries is a healthy thing to do for yourself, your business, and your homeschool. Don’t hesitate to move them as you see fit and to keep everything properly prioritized.