Ever find yourself sighing, "but that's not my job," to yourself ... then doing the work anyway? Setting professional boundaries can help you build a positive work environment and avoid ultimately burning out.
Setting Professional Boundaries
Knowing your values and priorities is step one to setting clear professional boundaries. So, take some time to assess your limits as well as how to set them. The boundaries you have will come from your overall priorities and values in your life. Learning how to avoid burnout begins when you can recognize that your job is, above all, just a job. You have plenty of other things to consider in your life, including your relationships, home life, and passions. You need space in your life for all of these things.
To assess your personal boundaries at work, follow these steps:
- Identify and understand your limits.
- Acknowledge your feelings.
- Give yourself permission to set those boundaries!
- Think about your work environment.
Then, it's time to share your boundaries constructively.
Communicate Your Concerns
Setting healthy boundaries at work starts with communicating your boundaries. When you have a good understanding of your needs, it's time to communicate with your team. This can simply mean letting your coworkers know you're not going to be answering any emails after a certain time. Or, you could identify what everyone considers an "emergency" so you don't have to deal with those not-really-crises that come up when you're jetting off on a long-awaited trip.
Communicate confidently and clearly. Communicating up front safeguards you against possible miscommunications in the future, but you may still have to address your concerns if a boundary gets violated. If that happens, reinforce your limits by addressing the issue immediately.
Delegate Where Able
Good leaders know how to delegate. If you're feeling overwhelmed with your projects or expected to do the equivalent of 20 employees' work, you're likely not delegating enough. Don't worry if delegating doesn't come naturally — it's a skill you can develop. Start by embracing letting go so you can trust your team and work to their strengths.
Learn To Say No
Easier said than done, right? Saying no can be anxiety-inducing, especially when you want to please everyone. But when you learn to say no, you set everyone up for success in the long run. Practice saying no in low-risk situations that don't relate to work — when the waiter offers you something you don't want, for example. You can even go into a quiet room and just practice saying the word out loud to work the muscle.
Taking a moment to pause when presented with a request you can't fulfill also helps. Before you respond when your boss asks you to go on a last-minute business trip, stop for a second. Pausing lets you check in with yourself to figure out your real feelings. You can buy yourself time by saying something like, "I'll check my calendar and get back to you" before rushing into a "yes" you're not really comfortable saying.
Develop a Personal Workflow System
You can avoid worker burnout by honing a personal system that keeps you from getting overwhelmed. Try going through your to-do list and assigning one of a few ways to deal with each item:
- Do the task.
- Defer the task.
- Delegate the task.
- Drop the task.
Tackle each item one time and then move on. Assigning ways to deal with each thing you need to do can help you regain control of your day.
You can also create structure by establishing agendas if your meetings tend to go off the rails or by setting meetings where they don't already exist. For instance, short weekly check-ins might give you a more efficient structure than dealing with a boss that pops into your office every few minutes.
Set Limits and Communicate Them
Get an idea of the areas where you feel like your boundaries are getting trampled on, then set and communicate your limits. Do you find yourself skipping time with your bae because you're fielding emails during your Netflix sesh? Create a boundary that you won't check work emails during post-work hours. Can't plan your vacation because your boss keeps springing work trips on you? Tell your manager that you need advance notice so you can better prepare.
Take Time Off and Turn Off Your Connections to the Office
About that vacation: Use it! Taking the time off you earned can go a long way in setting boundaries. Don't be afraid to take time off when you need it. You've earned the time off you've accrued, so take it. Then, set an out-of-office reply and really take the time to recharge. You won't be of help to anyone if you burn out, and using time off can help you reset so you can be fully present when you are at work.
Speak to a Psychic To Get an Intuitive Sense for Workplace Dynamics
Remember, you don't have to go at it alone. Teasing out the little quirks of your workplace dynamics can create stress. Who is the best manager to speak with about your boundaries? How can you share your concerns in a way that won't ruffle your boss's feathers while still standing firm with your needs? Speaking with a Psychic can give you insight into the dynamics of your workplace so you can tackle these important conversations wisely.
Be Ready To Defend Your New Position
You may need to stand up for yourself once you establish healthy boundaries. Prepare for the possibility that folks with react negatively. An adverse reaction isn't a cause for panic on your part — it's actually a sign that your boundary is needed. Before facing pushback, visualize a boundary being crossed and consider how to address the situation. Then, when that situation comes up in reality, you'll have the tools to handle the moment rationally instead of emotionally.
A Psychic Advisor can help you figure out the boundaries you need to set and how to best communicate those boundaries. Get a reading at PathForward today to start your journey to a more positive workplace.