Draw a Line… Between Personal and Business

drawing a line in the sand


Running a small business from home or an outside office often poses problems when there is cross over. Cross over happens when email, mail, and paperwork is routed to different addresses, brought to work, and/or mixed together in systems and filing cabinets. The list could go on and on.

If I could offer one piece of advice to a new small business owner it would be KEEP EVERYTHING SEPARATE. Don’t intermingle anything… files, email, phone numbers, paper, bank statements, credit cards, receipts, Facebook profiles, etc. Draw a clear line in the sand in your office and stick to it.

Let’s look at a few of these areas.


From the start, get a business checking account and savings account. If you use a credit card in your business, make sure it’s for business only. I’d suggest using the same bank for all three. This makes paying bills and transferring money super easy. Keep all business bills, statements and receipts separate from your personal bills and receipts. Whether you take care of them or pass them onto a bookkeeper, give them their own place on your desk.


Give your business its’ own space in your filing carts or drawers in your office. Don’t mix the business files with your personal files. Choose a different color file folder for your business as well. This will help identify the business file folders more quickly if you tend to take them out of the filing cabinet to use them.

Email and Social Media:

This is an important one. Keep business and personal separate. Clients and customers don’t want to get an email from joesmith@yahoo.com. It’s more professional to get an email from joe@smithplumbing.com. Also, your son’s soccer coach shouldn’t be cluttering your work inbox up with all the soccer practice updates and announcements.

When you’re working, you focus on work emails.

If you are considering or are currently involved in social media, keep the boundary across the board. Clients don’t need to know you checked in at the local Mexican restaurant in your neighborhood. This boundary also allows freedom. You can be “you” with friends and family, not worrying about clients seeing your posts or tweets.

Tasks and Goals:

I like to keep separate goal and to-do lists for my personal life and professional life. They are completely different time commitments and take on different energy and concentration. So, as you’re organizing your thoughts, tasks, and goals, use a different reminder system for each.

For example, my calendar and a file of goals in my filing cabinet remind me what I’m working on for my business. My personal to-do lists are posted on my corkboard or listed in my iPhone. Choose whatever works for you, but keep them separate. This will help you stay focused with your time and get things done on a weekly basis.

There’s only one exception to this rule, and that is calendars. I’m okay with you having one calendar for everything in your life. In fact, I’d encourage you to only have one calendar. Just give personal one color and business another color in your online calendar.

Do you own a small business? How do you keep things separate? Where are you good at keeping things separate? In what area do you need to improve?

Photo © SRphotos / depositphotos

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11 Responses to Draw a Line… Between Personal and Business

  1. I am working as an online freelancer for almost two years already and I do draw a line between my work and my personal life. I’d like to keep things organize at home and have specific schedule for work and for family.

  2. Taylor Thums says:

    Yes it is really important to draw a line between your business and professional life. Which is why I feel all the points you have made in this post make a lot of sense. The files should be separate and so should the finances.

  3. Levon

    You always give such great advice about the organization of life and goals.

  4. Philip

    It is good to keep things seperate especially finances, like seperate bank accounts and seperate social media accounts.

  5. Richard Thompson from Printing Newbury Park says:

    I think the biggest thing is making sure to make those separate bank accounts, and be sure to make them all with the same bank. It is so convenient to transfer between accounts and pay bills online that way. Having separate business accounts will also help you mentally separate what the money’s for and not for.

  6. Eric says:

    nice post thanks for sharing keep it up

  7. Gary Stein says:

    Thanks for posting this. Lots of people don’t realize that when you have an LLC, you only get that limited liability until you co-mingle your funds with personal funds. This can be absolutely disastrous for a small business!

  8. You need to get into work mode very quickly because the “journey” to the office is not the same!

  9. George says:

    I appreciate this information because lots of times many of us who have a small business don’t know how to handle our business affairs in the right manner, but this site is very helpful.

  10. Tom Coleman says:

    Exactly. i am also second your opinion. thanks for sharing this post. very interesting.

  11. sandhya

    Yes Exactly…what you have said is really correct there should be a line between a business and a professional life…many cant shedule their business and proffessional life ina right manne…Hence it is usefull…thanks for this article

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