Setting boundaries is an integral part of self-preservation and essentially taking care of yourself. However, it can be challenging to do this at work.
Unfortunately, many people have a hard time expressing themselves in the workplace, which can lead to stress and ultimately burnout and a compromised state of being.
Moreover, there’s a particular fear attached to setting boundaries at work because it might negatively affect your career if you say no or don’t put in every possible over time, despite your personal life and wellbeing.
Before looking at how you can enforce boundaries, it’s good to start at the point of your personal boundaries. Understand that your job is a job and that you have a life outside of the office, period. Your time outside of work hours is unconditionally yours to do whatever you wish, whether it’s doing something you’re passionate about or doing nothing. This might require you to evaluate some of the aspects of your life.
Consider your limits, your time, and how you want to be treated by other people. It’s okay to say no, and that includes refusing anything in the workspace that doesn’t align with you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
After considering what you want and are willing to accept for yourself, make sure you draw the line where you feel like people are infringing on your boundary.
For instance, if you find that there’s a colleague who’s gotten comfortable contacting you about work outside of office hours, if this is something that bothers you, communicate that you do not want to be reached for work in your personal time.
If your boundary gets violated, address it immediately instead of letting it wait. Reinforcing your boundaries is effectively done at the moment. Also, practice saying “no,” “not now,” “let me think about it.”
Avoid carrying all the work by yourself. Its often said the mark of a good leader is in their ability to delegate. When you find yourself sitting with lots on your plate, remember that you are not alone.
Delegating is particularly relevant if you’re in a managerial position, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t instances where you can’t delegate if you’re not the manager.
If you’re in the position to take extra work, but you know of someone better suited, or even looking for the opportunity, rather don’t take up the task.
Take Time Off
In addition to taking time off, take actual time off. That means that when you are not on the clock, be in the moment enjoying, relaxing, resting, and playing without checking work notifications or being concerned about work.