Written By Penny Zenker

One of the most difficult challenges for entrepreneurs is setting boundaries to stop working. That not only means to stop the activity of working, but also to stop the thought of working. From personal experience, I know this is easier said than done. Every day it requires a conscious effort to maintain those boundaries.

Here are some tips to create transitions that will help you break the pattern of physically leaving work but continuing to mentally run through the unfinished work ahead.

  1. Identify what it’s costing you to be working at all hours. If you continue at this pace, what are the consequences? How will that affect your relationships? Will you find yourself divorced in 10 years? Will you realize your children have been struggling without proper guidance? It is scary to think about! That is how important this is; your behavior impacts every area of your life. Take this opportunity to care for yourself, and address a negative pattern you could be developing. Understanding boundaries will give you leverage to better control your career.
  1. Set up your environment to support you. Set and use timers as reminders for when to stop and take breaks. Set them up outside of your office space to get you up and away from your desk. Create a signal or symbol for quitting time. For example, as soon as Fred Flintstone heard the bell…yaba daba doo, he was done. Set yourself an alarm indicating when to wrap up, and your yaba daba doo ringtone will trigger that shift in your mindset.
  1. Accountability. I say it all the time, you may have the best intensions but if you don’t place accountability on the task, the likelihood of proper implementation goes way down. Track adherence- how many times you do what you said you would. Ask a friend to call you at certain times or ask your spouse to help. As we discussed above, continue to keep in mind the ways your life could be negatively affected when you have not established boundaries for work.
  1. Reward yourself. Set up a reward at different points after following through with your boundary. Enhance your ability to implement this new routine by congratulating yourself when you succeeded. Tell someone in your life how well that boundary served you! Keep a little journal of times this strategy helped you to compartmentalize your work and watch your skills develop. We forget to reward ourselves for all of our effort, but it is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves.

To find more information about other effective methods and tools, get my latest best-selling book The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time, the P10: Productivity Accelerator online program, or come join us at a live event. For more information, go to

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