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As a business owner, it can sometimes be quite difficult to keep your personal life and business separated. This can be especially true if you run a tight-knit business from home, rather than from an office. The water can get muddy if you don’t pay attention. Here are 3 areas of your business you should never merge with your personal life.
Areas of Your Business You Should Never Merge with Your Personal Life #1: The Home Office
If you have an office outside of the home or work for someone else, it is naturally separated. If your children suddenly showed up whining and asking you to help them with their homework, you would think it inappropriate. And, so would your boss. This is why, when people work from home, it’s just as important to have boundaries in place.
First, remove aspects of your personal life from that space that may be distracting you. Even things like workout equipment, children’s toys, and the novel you’re currently reading can temporarily kill your focus. I know it may be impossible to remove all things that remind you of home and family, but do your best to make that room all about your business.
If you do find yourself drifting away from business while in your home office, try to realign your mind by reading inspirational success quotes. Sometimes, I will read parts of my own books or watch a video that I’ve made to inspire production and a deeper connection to my goals.
If it is other people (children, husband, mother, etc.) who insist on disturbing you, it’s time to set some strong boundaries. I get it, sometimes, that door and lock just don’t cut it. In this case, sit down with your loved ones and share why it’s important to you to have private time in your office. This is even more imperative if you have client meetings in person or via Skype or phone. You might try offering an incentive to younger children to respect your rules.
Areas of Your Business You Should Never Merge with Your Personal Life #2: Data
Keeping your personal data separate from your business data is important for a number of reasons. For example, try to keep your work emails separate from your personal accounts that others might have access to. This might not be as important for some types of businesses but could be risky for others, such as, those that deal with people’s finances and personal information. Always have solid passwords that cannot be figured out by people who know you or easily hacked.
You should also avoid aligning your personal finances with your business finances. If you have a financially complicated business and a lot of sensitive information, you might need to explore special programs or software. Security specialists at companies like Cybersecurity Framework NIST can help with this.
Additionally, having separate accounting and record-keeping will make things easier come tax time. I keep all of my business receipts in a digital file as well as a hard copy file in case I ever lose the other.
Areas of Your Business You Should Never Merge with Your Personal Life #3: Relationships
It is important that you do not amalgamate your business relationships with your personal relationships. I learned this one the hard way. If you have good working relationships with investors or clients, for example, you should not attempt to become good friends with them. Doing so can sway future decisions that may be crucial to your success as a business owner. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be friendly with your clients, however. Simply, set boundaries in your business relationships and stick to them.
On the other hand, with friends, try to avoid over discussing your business with them. And, under no circumstances ever discuss a client with another person outside of your business.
Keeping relationship boundaries is also a healthy thing to do for yourself. You need downtime to be just a woman, a mom, a wife, a friend without thinking about the next steps in your business. The more clear you keep the lines between your business and your personal life, the happier and more successful you will be at all that you do.