Jan 14, 2013



And this is perhaps the most important post I could give to you. Read this and ACT on it, friends. This is the meat of what makes my world tick! In the name of getting fired up about what’s most important and dedicating your life to your family and being your best self for you AND your business – today I’m giving you the good stuff. The following is a subject that I am passionate about because of how it has changed my life, my marriage, my family and the quality of my work: Boundaries. Before you pass this post off and say “I’m just not good at setting boundaries“, (yep. I can read your mind because I was so there!) know this: it’s not that you are bad at setting boundaries, you just have to DECIDE to create them. You can become skilled at setting boundaries. You have to decide that what you want most in life – what truly matters most to you – is THAT important. Is achieving your 2013 Goals worth setting boundaries? Do we even need to answer that question?? I’ve read your goals here in the comments and they are realllllly good important vital life-changing achievable goals. You can do it! I did. This used to be my life…

Sound familiar? Do you get mad when your clients email you late at night? Call you on your day off? Call you during dinner? Want you to reply to their emails on the weekend? Trust me, I get it. For what felt like forever, I was stuck in this cycle. I’d work till 3am, would email people at all hours and get mad when they’d email me back at those hours. !?!? I’d get so resentful when clients would email me on weekends expecting a reply. Worst of all, I always felt obligated to reply ASAP out of fear that I wasn’t pleasing them. I had no life and I blamed everyone but myself. And one day I actually – I am so ashamed to even type this – stepped out of church to answer a client’s call. That was the end for me. It dawned on me that this was 100% MY fault. From that moment on, I worked (and still work) my tail off to keep solid boundaries.

How do you think your clients feel about you when they see an email timestamped with 3am? Even 9pm? First they think, Oh, great! I can email them anytime I want because they are awake and working! In the same breath they may think, Wow, that person has no structure… no time management skills… too much to do… It’s a myth to assume they think, “Oh wow, they work hard.” Yeah. Too hard. When you are around someone who is frazzled and never sleeps and works 24/7, you can get the feeling of imbalance. Is that something you want your clients to feel? For those of you in the wedding business – or those who have gone through your own wedding – what kind of people would/did you want around you during that sometimes-stressful, sometimes-scary engagement and wedding day? People who help you feel secure with and who you can trust. Weddings have the potential to be the most stressful event a couple can experience. Brides ideally want people to guide them through the process – planners, photographers, designers, etc – who make them feel calm, happy, excited, secure, taken care of and confidently structured. This doesn’t mean you are the bride’s BFF. I think that can create a very poor boundary, too. Can you give good service and a great product without having things together behind the scenes? Possibly. Do a lot of people do that? Definitely. BUT, can you think of the days you were calm, centered and balanced and how that affected your clients? Yes. It changes things. This is not about being perfect; it’s about working to create boundaries that give you more balance and therefore affect everything you do and everyone you work with. Boundaries help you raise the bar.

Planning large weddings for many years, I saw the difference between being on call 24/7 and getting walked all over versus setting boundaries that clients actually love and respect. Boundaries allowed us to do our best work. Trust me, I was really really really fearful at first to set a structure. I thought if I wasn’t available 24/7, I’d lose business. The opposite happened. I started focusing on seeking the type of clients that I knew were going to respect my boundaries… and you know what? My quality of work improved and I started getting better clients and bigger contracts that allowed me to have the ability to choose clients. Nightmare clients are not worth ANY amount of money. Do you love being around happy, energetic, inspiring people? Wouldn’t you pay money to have them in your life if you could? Brides do. A solid product + a powerful brand that helps you attract the right clients who understand your value + structure in place to allow you to provide an extraordinary client experience = wedded bliss! Much more on that in our webinar series that starts this week. (Just a few seats left!)

Do I ever break my boundary rules? Yes. If a close friend needs personal help at midnight, I’m there. I’m talking about business here. It’s unfair to you and your family to let clients walk all over your personal time. Fact: short of a fire in the venue or a death in the family, there is NOTHING emergent about weddings that should require you to be on call 24/7. As a small business owner, your life, personal rest, family and friends and your clients are WORTH fighting hard for. Let me just tell you this is particularly HARD for me because I want to give my time and my heart to everyone. But, in order to give my heart at all, I have to set limits. Example: I started my consulting business out of necessity. I got burned out giving away “free” guidance to people and wore. myself. out. I had to create a structure – boundaries to protect my life and the quality of my work and relationships. I could go on and on about how that boundary decision changed my world forever. Yes, it’s still a daily fight to keep balance. I have a soft heart and I want everyone to soar. If there were 20 more days in the week and my blood was Red Bull, I’d be happy as a clam building businesses for free all day.

This is why I – and so many others – blog so openly. I want to give. But, I can’t give to everyone individually all the time. I now know to hold to my true value when people ask me for “free” advice. But, people respect it when you have a clear mission for your boundaries. They love you more for it and it encourages others to do the same. What if every single one of your friends asked for new family portraits? You’d be spent. Some of you ARE spent from this very thing. You devalue your services when you don’t have boundaries. For me, it’s not about money; it’s about value. It’s about giving my best to everyone around me. It’s not in my nature to say no to helping someone (and I walk a fine line with this) but it’s only fair to my paying clients – and my schedule – to work hard to never cross that line. A quick email here and there is ok UNTIL you start to get 30 of those quick emails in a day asking for branding advice and it takes away from your ability to perform at the highest level. I’m grateful that this hasn’t happened in a long while thanks to the limits I’ve set.

Getting fired up requires structure to prevent burnout first. The Bad Boundaries Cycle is an epidemic. Here’s the kicker…. it’s in your control. You can blame your clients all you want, but when it really comes down to it, who is the one setting the rules by example? Who is the one emailing them after hours and showing to the world via social media that you are open for business? YOU create the rules by following them yourself. You literally train people how to treat you by establishing limits. No matter how deep you are with clients running all over you right now, it’s possible to turn it around. It’s essential. Some of these changes may not happen overnight but some can happen instantly. And trust me – I know they can be really crazy hard. You have to do what’s right for you in your business structure. Establishing boundaries is tough till you literally feel the benefits of having them. When you see structure change you and your business, boundaries are worth fighting hard for. It’s never too late and – if you want to get seriously fired up to make things happen – it’s vital that you start making changes now.

YOUR CHALLENGE TODAY is to define structure/boundaries in these areas:

OFFICE HOURS: I started to notice that when I stopped using facebook and twitter on the weekends – and stopped sending email on weekends – I also got less weekend email myself. You could call this a coincidence; I call it logic. What are your work hours? Do you even have them? If not, you do as of today. This is easy to implement even if you currently have boundary challenges with clients. It will take a little time to train people into this, but they will appreciate structure just as much as you do. Put your office hours in your email signature or auto reply. Make them known! Post them on Facebook. Spread. The. Word. Start telling clients when you make appointments. “I have new office hours…” Do what works for you, but make sure you do something.

PHONE BOUNDARIES: A lot of people have my cell phone number. As in about 600+ Making Things Happen alum. I tell them to use it because, after spending 8+ hours with me learning about how I structure my life, I know they won’tabuse that. No one ever has because I set the boundary by being open about what’s most important to me – God, family, rest, and doing my best work to help others soar. That subtle boundary allows me to appreciate the calls and texts I get because people know me enough to know my limits. (I love you all so much!) For business, we use RingCentral for office voicemail and you can set office hours on the system. Feel free to call and listen to our nifty opening recording: 8777197979… just hang up right after the greeting so we don’t get a ton of random calls today while Gracie is napping! It cost $100 for a voiceover actor to record our greeting and helps us have a focused work time since calls are fielded there. We work 9-4:30. After 4:30, all calls go to a digital voicemail that gets sent to our email. Thanks to the phone system, I never get business calls on my cell. I can, however, set my extension to forward to my cell when I’m out of town working. Google Voice is another great system we love. Create office hours and stick to them. It makes you more focused and productive.

EMAIL BOUNDARIES: Since our office hours are 9-4:30, from 4:30 to about 6, I answer email and wrap things up for the day. If for some reason Ari is on call and Grace is napping and I answer anything later than normal, it doesn’t get sent out till the next morning. I literally turn my Outlook (I use Outlook 2011 for Mac) to “offline”. At 9am the next morning, I let those emails go out. I set the tone for when I am available via email. That structure has changed my life. Seriously, try it and see what happens. I can promise you it will change your life, too. Another great tool that my clients love is Boomerang for Gmail.

OTHER PEOPLE’S BOUNDARIES: Respecting other people’s boundaries creates better relationships. We have clear structures here in the office. I rarely (like once a quarter) email the SW ladies on weekends and, if I do, I put a giant note on the top that says “Ignore this till Monday – go have a great weekend!“ I want them to come to work on Monday rested and rearin’ to go, so I don’t push their limits. Do unto others… I don’t want calls after hours, so I don’t call people after hours. I don’t want urgent email on weekends, so I don’t send them myself. I also work really hard not to show favoritism to clients. Everyone gets the same extraordinary level of service. I strive to OVERdeliver within my work structure. The moment you bend for one client, they will expect it from then on. It’s unfair to the rest of your clients and to you. Respect other people’s boundaries and they will love you for it. It may even make you closer.

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUNDARIES: I don’t use social media on the weekends. If you read this post, you know my marriage is really important to me. I wasted far too much time buried in my phone instead of tending my marriage in the past and it crushed us. The phone isn’t the problem, though. The problem is where we invest our hearts. So, I’m pretty convicted against social media on the weekend and when Ari is around. I try to stay off of it at night, too, even if Ari is doing something and Grace is asleep. This is something I am working on this year to read the Bible instead of Instagram late at night. So far, it’s going really well and I am so much more fulfilled.

And then, there’s Facebook. Oh, Facebook! I cannot keep track of Facebook email, so I literally have a note on my profile in capital letters that says I DO NOT CHECK FACEBOOK MESSAGES. PLEASE EMAIL ME. I wish you could just turn Facebook messages off. Most of the Facebook messages I get are not business-related or they are spam, so I don’t get emails about them to my regular inbox. I don’t want all of that clogging my real work. I have no way of flagging and keeping track of Facebook messages, so I set the boundary by saying I just don’t check it. Many people unfortunately don’t read that, but if it’s really important, I know they will email me directly. Yes, there are hundreds of messages in there and I feel bad sometimes that I don’t read them, but I’d feel worse if I let that take over my inbox and prevent me from getting good work done. As for Facebook and Twitter usage, as I mentioned last week, I rarely ever use social media on the weekends. Even during the week, I rarely ever tweet late at night. Every time I did, I’d get late night DM’s and all kinds of distracting stuff. We do it to ourselves, so just set that limit.

SCHEDULE BOUNDARIES: Stick to your office hours and it will make you more productive. If you know work ends at 6pm, you’ll work hard every hour before that. Knowing I don’t work on weekends now, I work my tail off during the week to get it all done. When I made that choice,it required me to take a strict no-tolerance policy on distractions during my work day. I’m more efficient and focused. It’s so worth it. A FAQ I always get: what if clients can’t meet during office hours? When I was planning weddings, I could schedule one day where I would take late meetings. Only once a month. For me, this worked out perfectly. Maybe for you, clients can only do weekends. Pick just ONE Saturday a month to take sessions or meetings. Limit it. Setting these boundaries gives you your life back AND helps to give you focus. If you know you are shooting all day one Saturday or one Tuesday night, you are going to come in with guns blazing, ready to focus on just that! It takes the resentment of having to take late and weekend meetings out of the picture. You’ll be better for your clients. Period.

FAQ’s: 99% of the questions people ask me are answered on my blog. I have worked really hard to share as much as possible 1. because my mission is to educate and encourage people to succeed and 2. because since I started blogging regularly, I’ve gotten much less email asking for advice. It’s all there. So, if you keep getting FAQs, don’t get mad at people for not reading the fine print. Maybe that print needs to be a little bigger. A key function of a website or blog is to provide information. Make sure it’s accessible and FAQ’s are answered. This is a big one for us with Southern Weddings. We have extensive FAQ pages that save us email time and frustration in getting repeat questions. Having easily-accessible, clear information helps establish my boundaries and lessen my load.

Remember that saying NO to one thing is saying YES to another. Sound off! What boundaries are you creating starting today?

Comment with your progress below for accountability and to be entered to WIN a one-on-one session with me or prints from my new shop that will launch soon! I’d love to hear what challenges you in creating boundaries and how setting these helps you!

PREVIOUSLY: And, friends, it’s never too late to start this process. There is NOTHING MAGICAL ABOUT JANUARY 1ST!


P.S. Join Emily Ley and me for the Making Brands Happen 2013 Webinar Series that starts on Wednesday! (Congrats to randomly chosen winner TABITHA from the Goal Setting comments giveaway! Email Marissa at makingbrandshappen dot com to get registered!) There are only a few seats left. If you can’t make the live webinars, there will be recordings and homework sent out to all registered attendees so you won’t miss a thing. See y’all Wednesday!


  1. Amanda Speer on January 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Boundaries are an important aspect of life. Most people would assume that having boundaries causes you to be inattentive, unreachable and/or rude. Paradoxically, it’s the opposite. Having healthy boundaries allows you to be more free to focus on the important things, those that truly matter, thus allowing your work to be better.

    One major boundary I’m focusing on for 2013 is the office hours boundary. It’s difficult to stop in the middle of what I’m doing, especially if I’m in the zone. But I find the next day that I’m more productive, less tired, etc.

    Thanks for these tips, your blog and action plans for 2013 are extremely helpful!

  2. Chandra Verbic on January 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Hey Lara! I’m glad you posted this because I’m really struggling with social media. It’s been on my mind to consciously limit it since MTH in ATL. I was doing great in October, but since then, I find myself buried in my phone all the time. This post was good to remind me to re-focus. I’m also trying to use all the extra time I can when L’s napping or when I have downtime before he gets up in the morning to work on my new brand – by using this time and not time I could be spending with him, helps keep me focused as well. I’m also excited about enrolling him (officially) in a program this fall that will give me two days a week to devote to my business and brand without having mommy-hood as a distraction.
    Thanks again for these posts. I really appreciate the motivation and accountability. I’d love to win another time to chat one on one with you. Thanks again!

  3. @kellynn19 on January 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Great post; SO impt to maintain a healthy work/life balance (PR folks-read) MT “@laracasey: How to Create Boundaries: https://t.co/MTQ0aHUo

  4. Eboné Smiley on January 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

    I’ve always loved this concept and put it into practice in small bites, but I am in need of this entire meal this year. Taking my businesses to the next leave respectively and making more time for my faith, family and friends so I have to set my boundaries. Thank you for this series and this post Lara!

  5. Andrea on January 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I constantly need this message and was just giving the same points to a small group of friends on Friday. I’ve never tried offline with Outlook–good idea, but I do LOVE Boomerang for Gmail!! I use it all the time. The free version is good to try or the email game, if people are interested, but the paid version is well worth it!

  6. @megan_wright on January 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

    RT @laracasey: The most important post I could give you! How to Create Boundaries: https://t.co/ZU9Mh0J4 (+ why I never check Facebook email!)

  7. Alexa Roman on January 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Lara, this is an incredible post. Valuable insight and a necessary message. It’s the kind of thing you have in the back of your mind, but never act on. I’m going to put this into practice today!

  8. Rebekah {A Blissful Nest} on January 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Lara, I feel like you are going to change my life this year. I am so enlightened by everything you touch and can not wait to Make Things Happen. I am the person you depict of the “before” persona and NEED to be the “after”. I am setting hours right now but more importantly going to stick to them. With being an online business I feel everyone thinks they can just get you when they feel like it. It is almost like making sugar accessible to kids 24/7 and they get a sugar fever after from too much. This has to stop for me. Now. I can not wait for Wednesday and to move forward in the new me. Thank you so much!

  9. Madelyn RIdgeway on January 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Wow, this was some good stuff! I needed this. As a new planner, I’ve found it hard to be taken serious by those closest to me because I haven’t set boundaries and treated my business like a real business. I think many of my friends see my business as my hobby and come to me to get free planning advice. Because of a lack of boundaries, I give in and it perpetuates the cycle……rinse, repeat.

    It stops now though. Thank you so much for this inspiring and helpful post.

  10. @weddingrep on January 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    MAKING THINGS HAPPEN IN 2013: CREATE BOUNDARIES: And this is perhaps the most important post I could give to you… https://t.co/yjGCewbQ

  11. Elizabeth on January 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I haven’t posted my office hours on my Facebook page, so my goal for this week is to figure that out and do it! Thanks so much for being such an encouragement to so many! And i love your idea of reading the Bible instead of checking Instagram. That is usually what I do at late night is IG…..gonna change that, too!

  12. @CypressAlbums on January 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    RT @laracasey: The most important post I could give you! How to Create Boundaries: https://t.co/ZU9Mh0J4 (+ why I never check Facebook email!)

  13. Jennifer Fisher on January 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I LOVE this. So timely and MUCH needed. I’m currently struggling with this a ton and have gone back on forth on the “office hours” idea. (Since I’m single, I think it’s often assumed that my work is also my hobby…of course I now realize that I’ve allowed this to happen). I also work from home so oftentimes find myself with work in my lap on the couch at all hours of the night (…and/or doing laundry during the day “because I can”). It’s a horrible imbalance and I find myself spinning my wheels trying to get things done. I’ve been praying about this very subject so much lately – so, thank you for this incredible post. Printing and sharing and heeding your advice STAT!

  14. Kelly H on January 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    So needed to hear this today Lara! My husband and I both have workaholic tendencies and perpetuate this in each other (he’s answering emails at 9 so I might as well get some work done too while he’s busy). We get so burned out and our marriage suffers. We are focusing on quality time this year not just being near each other while we both work/use social media/hang out on our phones. Thanks for another great, encouraging post!

  15. Cami on January 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I’m friends with Melissa Oholendt who posted this on Facebook. I really needed to read this!

  16. Kathryn Denelle Stevens on January 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Currently, I am working on saying, “no” to things that aren’t moving me forward (both in business and personal). Currently, this means saying no to any and all work except weddings and personally, saying, “no” to people who are energy suckers. Rather than giving into their wants just to be “nice”, I am figuring out ways to still give to them, but within a structure that makes my values the priority!

    My challenges in setting boundaries: I need to clearly define what my current goals are for this year and filter each and every decision I make through those goals. For example, I want to simplify everything I do. So, even in my food choices, I want to ask myself, is this food simple (i.e. it’s going to feed me best, rather than being just a crutch when i’m hungry or stressed or whatever).

    My friends and I are having a “goal party” this weekend, the party is about coming up with ideas/goals/hopes that will clearly define this year!

  17. Lauren on January 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you so much for posting that. I am definitely going to start using the “offline” mode for Office outlook. I have actually noticed the amount of time that I spend on social media and it’s kind of ridiculous so yesterday, I went the entire day without it and I was amazed by how much I got done before 12pm. I’m currently working on starting my own small business, so any extra time I can get it great.

  18. Jenn on January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    What a wonderful post Lara! Just this morning I was stressed over a client that had emailed and called a few themes this weekend but I was trying to set my boundaries of not working on the weekend. It is about nicely training your clients and they too will know the boundaries. I needed this encouragement.

  19. Debbie on January 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Lara. I have implemented many of these in the past few years after feeling completely burned out. I still need reminders like this to stay on track and I’m thankful you shared this.

  20. @TamaraNAnderson on January 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    RT @laracasey: How creating boundaries changed my life and business: https://t.co/ZftGTDCg

  21. @shaystimpson on January 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    RT @laracasey: How creating boundaries changed my life and business: https://t.co/ZftGTDCg

  22. Sarah Teeter on January 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I look forward to these blog posts and challenges!! I am re-enforcing my office hours, I set up a google voice number, so no more calls to my personal cell in the evening, and have set up social media boundaries as well (limited to none on the weekend and nothing after 7pm weekdays). I am excited to simplify and establish these boundaries!

  23. Mackenzie on January 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Lara! I loved this post, I didn’t realize that as I student I can set boundaries and have the control to do so. Granted, I can’t choose what time my classes are but I can choose how much time they take up. I’m trying to decide if I can cut off working at 8pm. I think that is a completely realistic goal and one that will keep me more productive during the day. Also, I LOVE that you are trying to read the Bible at night instead of Instagram. Instagram is my biggest challenge during my social media free weekends and I think trying to switch out Scripture for comparisons is going to be wonderful. (I love those weekends, I end up telling EVERYONE about them. They are awesome, you’re awesome too!) I’m so excited. Thank you for sharing these steps and putting out all of this information. You inspire me and I cannot wait to get home from school and change my attitude by reading your posts! Boundaries are going to change the way that I work, I cannot wait to feel motivated to get more done during the week (and during my boundary hours) so that I have more time for REST on the weekends. I hope you had a great Monday!

  24. Nicolle Spitulnik on January 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Oh Lara! I am stuck in the bad boundaries cycle and desperately need to get out! I am noticing so many facets of my life suffering because of my lack of boundaries. I plan to start exploring doable business hours that will not only work for me but also my family. 2am is not doable anymore.

  25. @bonni_mace on January 14, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    RT @laracasey: How creating boundaries changed my life and business: https://t.co/ZftGTDCg

  26. Tabitha on January 15, 2013 at 11:54 am

    OMG~I just saw that I won!!! OMG OMG OMG! Thank you JESUS!!!!!

  27. @createmepapered on January 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! God’s got a blessing with your name on it!

  28. Nancy on January 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Lara I have loved this series. I am going to set boundaries with the two partners I work with. I run a wealth mgmt team and I’ve always done everything for these two gentleman and allowed them to contact me at night, weekends an days off for simple work questions. I am going to tell them tomorrow that from know on I am only available during work hours. I give my all at work and need to allow myself personal time to refresh and renew. I’m also working on the fear task… I allow fear to control me. I love when you said feel it, it’s just fear. Its not lava!!! Big aha moment for me. Love you and can’t wait for the shop to open, the gold lettered print about all things I ve been meaning to do is my absolute favorite.

  29. Karen Stott on January 16, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I remember when you first talked about this at the MTH I went to in 2010. It seriously rocked me core. I made a lot of changes then, but with the addition of a facebook driven ministry and instagram I’m ashamed to say I’m back in the saddle or needing more boundaries. I’m trying not to be discouraged that it’s too late… Repeating Begin Anywhere in my head.

    I’m starting today. Thanks Lara.

  30. Hilary Maloney on January 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks so much for this! My new structure for the year is to work three days a week from 9-5. I’ve been doing that consistently for about two weeks now, and it has been amazing! Unfortunately I have a part time job that requires me to work some nights & weekends, but I’m committing to take a big step towards cutting out everything else that distracts me from the things I really care about. I’m choosing to be a lot more intentional about being present in the evenings so that I can enjoy time wi my husband, catch up with friends or simply rest at home. I’ve allowed myself to be too distracted by social media, so I’m also committing to limiting that on nights & weekends. Thanks for all of your wisdom and practical tips!

  31. Sharon on January 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I am so ready to Make It Happen and set boundaries in 2013! I am guilty of almost all the charges in the “Bad Boundaries Cycle” : ( .

    I am currently writing out my boundaries: office hours, emails, telephone and social media! I am also handing out a FAQ questions sheet for new clients and setting out boundaries. Thank you Lara!

  32. Carmen on January 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Wow this is awesome! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and letting me see that we need to set boundaries for the sake of family, friends and our personal time with God. I’ve been consumed lately by all the stuff that’s available out there for free and for fun, but that also robs time from us if we are not careful. I don’t have any solid clients yet, but this post just opened up my eyes to other areas in my life which lack structure. I’m hoping to use these wise words not just with clients, but when it comes to spending time on line. Thank you Lara!

  33. Michelle on January 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Such in area I struggle in! I work from home and have two preschoolers home the same time. Therefore my clients are getting emails from me at all random times of the day. Goal for this year is to set office hours and hire an in-home babysit for a couple days a week. Thank you for the great post and advice!

  34. Alyssa on February 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! As both a bride-to-be AND a freelancer I completely agree with what you said. I have been in this trap and I know it is easy to blame clients for a crazy schedule and no boundaries when really I am just as responsible-if not more. A nice reminder. Great article

  35. Madi on March 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    This is one of my many favorite things I’ve learned from you in the time I’ve been acquainted with MTH and your mission. I am so thankful for learning this early on to be able to adopt these practices from the very beginning of creating my own business. Constantly inspired by you, your marriage, faith and family. Thank you for doing what you love!

  36. Jaimee on May 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Great post! General comment- I find your website hard to read because the white is so bright and gray text so light. I have cut down my brightness and it doesn’t help. Your words and designs are wonderful and I’d like to spend more time here, but it’s hard on the eyes 😉

    • Lara on May 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you for the feedback! Yes, I have been thinking this as well, so we just changed the text to be darker : )

  37. Erin on May 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Hey Lara — good call on the Outlook responses and saving them for the next day. I do that too, but I use the delay delivery tool. Do you know it? Then you can set the e-mails to be sent the next day at 9 a.m., in case you forget to turn offline or won’t remember.

    • Lara on May 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Yes, I use Boomerang for gmail and it’s great!

  38. Ruth on November 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    It might seem weird to comment on an older post, but the reason I’m on your page is that I was copying the link to share with an overwhelmed self-employed friend, which at this point, 11 months after you wrote it, I have done countless times! This post played a big role in preventing me from totally burning out this year and after implementing new boundaries (no work on the weekends, no social media after 5 or on weekends) I’m happy to report not only did my year go much more smoothly with clients (I’m a wedding invite designer) I also made MORE money, while working fewer hours by being more efficient. Thanks so much!

    • Lara on November 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      SO grateful for your note here and so grateful you’ve been encouraged!

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