“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Setting and Maintaining Healthy Personal Boundaries in the Workplace
"What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not do."
The boundaries concept can be difficult to grasp at first. You can't see them, most of the time they are unspoken and unconscious in your thoughts. They are invisible lines that define limits and responsibilities in an individual's life. Different people have a variety of values and this all impacts on what each individual considers a boundary. On top of this, the constant bombardment of technology (mobiles, blackberries, etc) has blended and eroded into life a way that has blurred the lines between personal and professional; making boundaries extremely challenging to maintain.
One client who runs her own business said, "I work from home and I find it difficult to separate work with my personal space. It is so easy to turn the PC on and do some work."
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your or business demand that you be constantly accessible?
- Do you have trouble saying no?
- Do you take work home with you?
The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and look after yourself. They allow you to teach people how you would like to be treated. People treat you as you allow them to through your actions or inactions. You need to be able to let other people know when their behaviour is impacting on you. A lack of strong, clear-cut boundaries is one of the contributing factors for stress and overwork in the workplace. That is why setting and maintaining boundaries is extremely necessary to your health and well-being.
Knowing when to apply boundaries can be challenging, even more so if you run your own business. The most important rule to follow, however, is if you are being impacted or affected by own or someone else's behaviour then your priorities or values are being neglected. If this is the case, it is time to stop assess what is happening.
One client said, "I found I was yelling more and more at the kids. I couldn't work out why until I stopped and realised that I wasn't spending enough time with them, and when I did I got frustrated because it wasn't quality time."
Boundaries have no meaning if your actions don't back up your words.
The following points will be able to support you in this process:
Develop Self Awareness
Take the time to consistently evaluate what is working or not working in your life. Become conscious with things around you and recognise when you feel angry, frustrated or sad. Find the root to the problem and adjust accordingly.
One client said, "By observing my behaviour over a period of time, I was able to assess what was really annoying me and what I needed to do to change this."
Know What You Want, But Also Know Your Limits
How far are you prepared to go to achieve your goals? _What are your priorities, values, strengths and weakness? Answer these questions and you will be clearer about your life.
Be Clear About What Your Role Entails
It is your responsibility to read the job description. If the description is too broad or general request specific clarification. If you run your own business, create a description for yourself. One of the main problems at work is that individuals are unsure about where their role ends and where another begins.
Communicate, Discuss and Agree
When attempting to put new boundaries in place, you need to let others know by communicating clearly. Be willing to discuss it openly with the individuals affected. Verify that they have understood the message. Listen to their feedback and concerns. Make it a win-win situation for all. If you can get the agreement in writing better still.
Practice saying NO
Too many individuals do things they don't want to do because they can't say no. If you don't want to do something, say so. At first it may feel uncomfortable but it will become easier. You don't offer an explanation when you say yes.
Setting clear, strong boundaries is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a well balanced, healthy life. They allow you to prioritise what is important to and act accordingly. Without them, you have no real control over how you want your life to be. Therefore, take the time to assess what your values and visions are so you are able to take steps to realign your dreams with your reality.
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Upcoming Event: Reflect Your Success!
Building a Strong Personal Brand and a Powerful Network
How can building your personal brand help you achieve your goals? A strong personal brand allows you to network more easily and to connect with more people (and have them connect with you).
Join us on 29 May when Marny Lifshen, author of Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women presents a new webinar: Reflect Your Success.