How to Set and Own Your Boundaries

Published 4 months ago • 5 min read

January 17, 2024


Science says January is the most depressing month of the year. The bills come in from when the holiday spirit had you feeling rich. The resolutions you made are probably broken (resolutions are dumb), and it’s cold, even in Southern California.

I wanted to skip this week, but from day 1, I said I would send this every Wednesday. I have so much to say, and at the same time, I feel like I don’t. It’s difficult when things are second nature, and it blows your mind when someone else doesn’t understand it – that’s why this was created. I’m constantly told I have so much valuable information.

What do you want to know more about?

So far, I’ve covered: Reputation Management, Audiences, Anti-Templates, Client/Agency Relationships, Community, Competitive Analysis, Holidays in Content, Anti-Trends, and Strategy. Reply to this email or submit here.

I needed inspo, so I texted Ally, and I feel attacked. She said:

• How to take breathers and not get overwhelmed as a freelancer

• How to stop saying yes to everything and forgetting about yourself

This is for everyone, not just freelancers or marketers. Actually, living life the way you want and deserve is a lesson/action I’ve only recently implemented. I’ve always known it was important, but I also have every excuse in the world as to why I didn’t:

• Money

• Boredom

• The rush from a lot of work

• Thinking being busy is a flex

Now, I AM judging if you’re working when you don’t want to, hate your work, and brag about being busy. Make a matcha or grab a sparkling water (Mineragua 😍) and chill for a sec.

I can tell you exactly what I do to (try to) bring myself peace and keep myself well, but that may not bring YOU peace at all. For example, if you tell me to do yoga, I’m going to be ready to box. You have to find what works for you. I found what works for me by being open to trying just about anything.

Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s health.

OBVIOUS, BUT ESSENTIAL FOR WORKING:

Know how long it takes you to do things you do consistently (personally and professionally) so you can plan accordingly.

• Create a consistent schedule that works for your responsibilities and preferences. You know when you work best and what factors impact that.

Prioritize tasks. Do what’s important first and see if the rest even matters later.

Set boundaries. Why are you always making yourself available when you know your client or colleague has nothing to do with work once it’s a certain time? Why do we do this to ourselves?

Learn to say no. Politely decline projects or requests that may overload you or do not align with your expertise. You do not owe anyone an apology.

Take regular breaks throughout the day, week, and month.

Prioritize self-care. We’ll get into that.

Network with people who lift you up, inspire you, and will recommend and/or hire you.

Financial planning. Have a cushion for burnout if you ultimately can’t prevent it. Track how often you feel like you want to get away and plan for that. Put it on the calendar.

HOW I DO IT:

• Strategic Mindfulness. Take a few minutes to reflect on current projects and goals ensuring alignment with your business, client goals – the whole big picture.

Fresh to do lists. To do lists can be fun, satisfying, and stressful. I create a new to do list every morning and try to significantly cut its length from the day before, knowing it’s going to get just as long again. I prioritize my tasks, and now I even categorize them. Example: by client, need to buy, need to do, need to do at some point, random thoughts. I have a weekly FYI at the top of my sheet, including meetings, sports, appointments, and things taking up my time. The to-dos for the day are below.

Learn something new. I will either read a business book on my Kindle or set out to scroll LinkedIn and X with a mission – not just opening and scrolling. Do I want to learn, follow new people, or discover potential new clients? If I don’t have a mission, I won’t learn, and I’ll scroll forever.

Efficient networking. I build connections purposefully, ensuring meaningful and productive interactions. This benefits me personally and professionally. Yesterday, I got two treatments, totaling $4k for free…because I network genuinely. I get new clients by recommendations from people I met 10+ years ago and haven’t talked to since, but they see what I’m doing. If you are your business, you must build it – we all need community.

• Love the space you’re in. I spend most of my life in my office – but that’s because I moved it to the room connected to the kitchen; I can see the room the kids hang out in from here, and I’m next to the backyard. My office is exactly how I want it, and if we want to chill in here at night, that’s cool, too.

Reflect. Seriously, Reflect on your successes, acknowledge achievements, and use them as motivation for your next tasks.

MY SELF-CARE + HABIT STACKING

Fire Cupping

Infrared Sauna Dome

• Lymphatic Drainage Massages

Active Release Techniques

• Acupuncture

• Manicure + pedicure at the same time while listening to a podcast

• Red light therapy + answering emails or social scrolling

• Monthly facial

• Skincare morning + night

• Being on the ocean

• Photography + Editing

• Volunteering – I head social and a few other things on our Little League’s board of directors

• Paying for my time with DoorDash, Instacart, Amazon Prime

• Doing nothing other than hanging out with my family

If I do all of this consistently, I feel more normal. You can’t wait until you’re burnt out to care for yourself; it’s too late, and you won’t want to do anything.

Commit to things that work for you and take the time actually to do them. I learned the hard way.

It’s important that I freelance so I can create a schedule that works for me. I know I need not work an entire day unless I want to; that could be any day of the week; sometimes, it’s just not happening on a Monday. I leave room in my schedule to ensure there’s a lot of flexibility while still meeting deadlines.

Plan for those “I don’t wanna” moments.

Finding what works for you is key. Maybe you don’t need to relax, maybe you need an adrenaline rush, or you need to clean out your closet and tackle all those tiny annoying things on the to-do list you know will take less than 5 minutes.

Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.

Let me know what you want me to get into next week!

Chelsea


Who's Ally, you ask? Ally is a badass product and social media marketer and founder of State Champs: a sports coffee shop with streetwear mentality – merging culture, streetwear, coffee, and sports under one roof, literally.

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Your weekly practical advice, insights and strategic guide to social media, community management, marketing and freelancing. Created from 15+ years of creating bespoke social media strategies and building thriving communities for 150+ clients and 25+ agency partners. My approach is simple: lead authentically, solve problems, connect, and make a difference.

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