Do you have trouble saying "no" to people at work? With the constantly growing list of opportunities we have to say "yes" to, most of us find setting boundaries more challenging than ever before.
Yes, I can take on that extra project, although my days are already too full. Yes, I can have that difficult conversation, even though it's your responsibility and not mine. Yes, I can work over the weekend, even though my family and friends had plans.
Sound familiar at all?
"Learning to set and keep clear boundaries with your boss and colleagues is essential if you want to remain happy and productive at work," explained best-selling author and resilience, wellbeing and productivity coach Valorie Burton when I interviewed her recently.
"Boundaries are a definition. Think of it like owning a house where you have specific boundaries around that property and you know what is your responsibility to take care of, and when you step out of that you know the area that's not your responsibility," suggested Valorie.
"When we begin to blur those lines, that's where we tend to find ourselves in situations that become very frustrating."
Setting boundaries means saying "no" by asking for the respect we want and honoring these needs. Valorie recommends trying these five steps to making setting boundaries easier at work:
- Get clear on the boundaries you need - Start by asking what are the boundaries you need to protect your own peace, joy and serenity at work. Try to clearly envision what your life at work would be like if these boundaries were respected and gracefully enforced. Ask yourself: "What does that give me? How does it feel when I have clear boundaries? How does it feel when I am operating at my optimal potential?" Then notice the areas where you most feel frustrated, stressed or overwhelmed currently and how, when and by whom these boundaries are being crossed.
For more ways to set boundaries successfully at work be sure to check out Valorie's new book "Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable".
And if you'd like more tested, practical ways to show up, shine and succeed at work then grab this free podcast series from leading thinkers in the field of human flourishing.
This article first appeared in Live Happy Magazine.