You dread going to work in the morning.
Maybe you don't feel appreciated by your boss.
Or you find it difficult to get your most important work done amid all the distractions and To-Do's on your list.
Perhaps you're starting to feel like what you're doing doesn't make much of a difference anyway.
By the time you call it quits for the day, you're pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until the moment you go to a///sleep.
Sound familiar? You're not alone.
If you feel like no matter what you do, you're always getting pulled somewhere else or it feels like you're always cheating on SOMEONE - your business, your family, yourself, I want you to stop.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
You're on your way to burning out; if you aren't there already.
Not exactly a recipe for inspired, productive, engaged work, now is it?
It's no secret that the demands on our time are increasing and with that comes the inevitable decline in our available bandwidth to keep up. So what's the solution?
Before deciding to write this article, I began engaging members of my community in conversations around the topic of boundaries and it seems that the subject is rather taboo. People feel uncomfortable discussing boundaries, have trouble knowing how to set them and even more still allow others to completely violate their boundaries on a regular and consistent basis.
In case you aren't sure, boundaries are a GOOD thing. They bring order to our lives, empower us with a stronger sense of self and influence how we'll be treated by others. In short, boundaries help you decide what types of communication, behaviour and interactions you are willing to accept in not only your professional but your personal life.
There are a myriad of strategies and resources for how to set boundaries at work and I cover a number of them during my virtual workshop, but I would say the single most impactful way to set limits around the work you do (and feel better at work) is through focus.
FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful.
It's no secret that technology has freed us. Where we were once chained to our desks and at the mercy of the postal system, we are now more connected and more mobile than ever. And while that certainly has its benefits, it has made us multi-tasking, disconnected, inattentive workers with short attention spans. As a result, we are significantly less productive and more prone to stress and overwhelm. But it doesn't have to be that way; you can lead by example and set boundaries that work.
Don't wait for you boss to force you to separate work and play, stand up for yourself by taking charge on what you will and won't allow. It's your game and you get to choose the rules!
The first step in setting boundaries is getting clear about what your limits are and then be willing to ask yourself some critical questions:
Am I willing to take work-related calls in the evenings? How late? How about on the weekends?
Will I check my email daily or set aside specific times to do this? How quickly do I really need to respond to emails? Tim Ferriss advocates for setting up autoresponses, which indicate that you will be checking e-mail twice per day or less - genius!
A 2012 global work force study showed that employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30% higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or just one during the day and a whopping 46% higher level of health and well-being.
Think your boss won't go for it? You never know until you ask.
Creating boundaries at work can be tricky but it all starts with a little courage and some effective communication. Don't attempt to set all your boundaries at once. Just take it one conversation at a time and practice identifying, asking for and sticking to your boundaries. As you begin to develop that muscle and notice what works, you'll be better able to adjust what doesn't. Over time, you'll not only have healthy boundaries that work but you'll also be a more happy, productive employee, colleague and individual.
Samantha Ushedo is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Self-Love Catalyst who helps super-achieving women master their inner mean girl, sidestep self-doubt, and ditch overwhelm so they can start creating the life they crave. If you're struggling with learning how to lead by example and set boundaries that work, check out her free training: Set boundaries like a PRO (& without feeling like a jerk!)