how to use out-of-office replies to set boundaries in your business

When I email clients or friends I often get out-of-office replies. In this post I’ll share why I love getting these out-of-office replies, and how you too can use out-of-office replies to set boundaries in your business.

Many of the out-of-office replies I get aren’t just any kind of replies, but messages sharing what people are doing instead of reading and answering email.

They’re throwing pots in their studio.

Spending dedicated days crafting beautiful jewellery.

Taking time off to soak up the sea air.

Chasing their kids around and spending time in the sun.

In other words: purposefully guarding their time and energy to focus on what matters most in their life and business.

why setting boundaries can be so hard

The other day I told a friend how I loved it when she shared a boundary (“I’ll look into it tomorrow”). She replied saying that she was trying, but it wasn’t easy.

It’s not your fault that you keep crossing your boundaries around email, availability or social media.

You’re up against decades of productivity culture (not to mention millions of social media posts and thousands of app developers) telling you that you need to ‘on’ as much as possible.

If you identify as female, add to that thousands of years of baggage telling you that you need to be available. That you have to put others’ needs ahead of your own. That you can’t take up space. That you can’t say no to requests for emotional or physical space and contact.


With an out-of-office reply you affirm to yourself and the world that you have a life and a business outside of email.


Something like an out-of-office reply is a signal to the world that you are taking up space. That you are forging a path away from the norm.

An out-of-office reply or other boundary is not only an external signal, but also an internal one. You’re affirming to yourself that you have a life and a business outside of email. You’re giving yourself permission to not read or think about your email, let alone feel obliged to reply.

Taking up this kind of space takes practice but it’s so worth it.

There is a slower, gentler and more profitable way of running your business.

Discover your way of doing your business with my 1:1 mentoring support.

No hacks, no hustle.

Instead: marketing and launching that is slow, gentle and gets results. Clear boundaries and priorities that encourage you to live a life next to your business. Accountability and support to help you create the live and business you crave.

an experiment: using out-of-office replies to set boundaries

Take a moment to think or journal about these questions:

  1. How can you protect the time and energy you spend on your business from external demands?
  2. Try out an out-of-office reply, dedicated social media days or other boundaries in your business. How does it feel once the discomfort ebbs away?

more tips on setting business boundaries that feel good

Setting boundaries in and around my business is something that has benefited both my own mental health and my business most. But it’s a process that requires maintenance and updating too. In my business boundaries that feel good guide I help you set boundaries in and around your business, so that you can focus on what you’re best at in your business (and: on your life outside of it!). It’s full of prompts and strategies, and has pages and pages of templates in the back.


I’d love to know whether you’re using out-of-office replies in your business, and what other kinds of boundaries you consciously set. Send me message, I’d love to hear from you.

And, if you liked this post on using out-of-office replies to set boundaries in your business, feel free to share it with business friends, in your newsletter or on social media.

I’d love to support you in all phases of your business. Providing clarity, focus and next steps is something that my clients tell me I’m really good at. If you’re curious about how we can work together through 1:1 mentoring, check out what I offer or send me an email–no strings attached. I have payment plans available, and flexible options for mentoring calls (30 or 60 minutes).

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