It’s a Sunday morning on my birthday weekend and I receive an e-mail from a new client I’ve been working with. Can I do him a massive favour and pull in some edits that afternoon? It’s a very quick and easy decision – on this occasion, unfortunately not I replied. I did however assure him that I would absolutely slot him in as a priority on Monday morning. A reasonable response I hope you’d agree? For him it would appear not! A second plea on the Sunday and not one but two e-mails during the very early hours of the morning to be greeted with on Monday morning!

Of course the end of that particular job was that he had his edits, as promised, promptly on the Monday morning. But it was a real reminder about being comfortable and firm about my work/life balance choices. There are of course some times where circumstances may be that it’s fine to pull in a piece of work in what are considered to be unsociable days or hours. But the beauty of working for yourself is that you get to choose. The double-edged sword of worldwide clients and increased connection and accessibility through technology these days can mean this is difficult to achieve. As small businesses, in a competitive market, it’s tempting to be all things to all people isn’t it?

So just remind yourself of all the well-known reasons why sometimes it is important to say “thanks, but no thanks”.

Maintaining a balance between your work, family and wider social life is critical. Most importantly for nurturing healthy relationships with family and friends. Who wouldn’t want to spend as much time possible with their loved ones after all? But in turn your own physical and mental health and wellbeing go hand in hand with increased productivity and better performance at work.

Fewer health problems, less burnouts, more control over your focus and mindfulness and ultimately more enjoyment in your work are all proven outcomes of a healthy work/life balance.

So, please be assured if you work with me I’ll always consider a request so do ask! You never know it might just be when I’m in the office for something else. But if that’s not the case, and I have to say no thanks, please understand it’s for the right reasons and I’ll slot you in for sure when I’m back in the office.

And when I am – I’ll be fully focussed and on it you can be sure of that!