Starting your own business is super exciting, but it can also be totally overwhelming! One common issue is finding the right work/life balance. How do you make sure you don’t become overly consumed with work?! How does one know when it’s time to turn off the computer, silence your phone and just relax!? Back again to lend us some insight on this specific issue is Kim Butler of The White Boardroom. We know her perspective will help you figure out your own perfect balance!

“As a culture, we tend to highly value freedom and flexibility. Many of us dream big and journey outside the box to start some venture hoping to escape the boundaries we feel have been imposed on us. But when the romance of our dreams has worn off and we have to dig into the reality of building something, whether it is a business or a family or the life we desire, we either give up or we get frustrated that our “dream job” is more of an endless nightmare of emails, spreadsheets, to do lists, and laundry. Then the life we desired to bring us freedom becomes a trap. We try to experience freedom by eliminating boundaries, but true freedom is found within healthy boundaries, not outside them.

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I sit down with dreamers on a regular basis. The creative mind works in unique ways and those ways typically do not include much attention to detail or an affinity for zero inbox. Don’t get me wrong, there are many strengths about creative minds. They have a beautiful ability to cast vision and come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems. However, when creatives jump in and start building their dream, the reality of email, legal, taxes, and the many other exciting aspects of business hits and all of the freedom that was expected to come with the dream feels lost. Even analytical minds struggle with boundaries and can be prone to getting wrapped up in to-do lists and maintenance, leaving little time for creativity.

The idea that we will experience freedom without boundaries makes sense; the word itself implies that we are bound to something, and that doesn’t sound freeing at all! The problem is that when we do not set any boundaries, we eliminate focus. Without focus and discipline, dreams are just dreams. Reality is that when we start something, we do incur emails and spreadsheets and to do lists and laundry, but at the same time we need room to create and develop ideas.

Boundaries give us the freedom we most desperately crave, but first we have to change our perspective. Boundaries are set to keep the unwanted out, not to keep us in.

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Let me give you an example. Most of us would say that we desire financial freedom; we like to keep money problems far away. To have financial freedom, we first have to pay off our debt. If we make choices to live on less, boundaries, we can pay off debt faster. Then if we want more financial freedom, we make choices that allow us to save more. The further we get, the more free we become because we create boundaries that set us up to experience more freedom, true freedom. Dave Ramsey says it like this, “Live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow.”

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To live in such a way we have to determine the aspects of our business and life that need structure, create that structure, and be disciplined within that structure. Our time and our finances are the two areas in which this principle and practice will be reflected the most. To use our time efficiently, we need to set up systems that make those mundane tasks run as if on autopilot. We also have to determine how to spend our time by putting limits on things like work and tasks within work, like email. For finances, know where you are, know where you want to be, then create a budget and a plan that reflect those two realities. It is all about taking an active rather than a reactive role.

We must begin to take this kind of active role and work within boundaries. As we choose to live like no one else today, disciplined, focused, and intentional, the result is more freedom tomorrow. Not freedom that takes us away from responsibility, but freedom that gives us room to propel our vision and our influence.”

Photography by: Kayla Griffin Photography 

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    1. Wendy B. Dixon

      Great read Kim! I’ve experienced this first hand as a business owner for 10 years. By applying the systems you describe, I am free to enjoy the creative passions that birthed my business in the first place. Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that discipline is required and to continue to press on even with the mundane!