We all have to deal with different types of distractions, interruptions and at times confusion all of which contribute to killing our productivity at work and our free time at home. The only way we can control these productivity killers is to set clear cut boundaries which will work for us, help us to reach the goals we may have set for ourselves and achieve the success we visualize. If we have defined positive and helpful boundaries for ourselves we will be able to respond to any requests in an appropriate manner, if we are not able to fulfill them. We will not waste our time and let frustrations build up in us being forced to do something against our will.    

Setting boundaries is the key to ultimate self-care by taking the pressure off ourselves and being able to realize our ambitions. What are boundaries and what can we do to set some for ourselves ? These are simply the set of strategies or even limit which we define for ourselves and learn to use them to deal with and manage the different demands and requirements put on us. These limits let us focus on the important things we need to do, whether it is at our work place or home and other areas of our life. These restrictions also support us in making decisions on what to do or not do. What is important is that we stay on track and do not let ourselves get diverted by unnecessary things.

While defining our boundaries some things we need to keep in mind are that :

  • Boundaries should be defined based on what we want and consider important in our life
  • They should be flexible and support our aims
  • These can be framed as broad statements of values or smaller specific ones related to an activity.
  • The limits we define should be changeable with time and growth, whether it is related to our work or family life.
  • Practice helps to make boundaries effective and the more we use them, the better progress we can make and satisfaction we will achieve.

Some important work related boundaries we can set for ourselves include :

  1. DEFINE YOUR TIME : Identify time wasters and learn to control them so that your productivity is not hampered. Plan your day, starting with checking of emails, having team input meetings etc on a regular scheduled time. Be conscious to start and end meeting according to the planned agenda. Look for alternative ways to complete a task that are more efficient and save time. Respect your own time and as well as others, to be successful. To be doing well, also learn to focus on what you have to do and decline other work.
  2. WORK EFFECTIVELY : Be efficient and work effectually to achieve more in less time. Learn to recognize your limits and conserve your energy. Continuing to grind the wheel without achieving anything is counterproductive and smart people know when to step back, take a break and come back refreshed to complete an assignment. Learn not to worry or stress about things over which you have no control. Reserve your energy and learn to apply it to areas where you get results.
  3. POSSESS YOUR IDEAS : Be forward and always ready to take credit for your ideas and accomplishments. Do not let anyone else take credit for your ideas, make it clear to your colleagues and Manager that you came up with the concept. Remember that a career will grow and advance based on your achievements so make sure they are recognized. Your potential and abilities will only be recognized if people are aware of them and the impact they are causing on your job and performance.  

By setting the right strategies for your work life you make yourself more effective and productive. Not only that, by fulfilling your job requirements efficiently you can also come closer to attaining your goals, while having time for other activities. Remember it is also very important to learn to leave your office behind you when the day ends and focus on your personal life.

In this area too by defining some boundaries you can lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life by maintaining :

  • Healthy relationships – Invest your time and energy in developing positive relationships with family members and friends. Find time for family members, to develop supportive associations is important but avoid undue pressures which may create a burden on you. Define boundaries which work for both parties without causing ill feeling. Develop close friendships with a few rather than superficial relationships with many.
  • Health consciousness – Looking after our physical and mental health is critical in these stressful times we are living in. We need to define a time slot for our physical activities, be it walking or jogging, swimming, gym classes or playing a game. Caring for oneself is the key to achieving success and self development also plays a role in here. Make a habit of reading an article or book to increase your perspective and knowledge in your sphere of work.
  • Financial stability – Managing your money matters by defining and setting boundaries according to your requirements will enable you to control unnecessary spending. The boundaries you define will help you to decide in broad terms what you want for the future of yourself and also other family requirements. It will help facilitate you to make savings and resist temptations.   

It does take a lot of discipline to set boundaries for yourself and having your colleagues and family adhere to them. But with the passage of time we get to realize the benefit we are gaining from these. We save our time, achieve more, have more energy and enjoy better health and relationships.

Remember , “Boundaries protect the things that are of value to you. They keep you in alignment with what you have decided you want in life. That means the key to good boundaries is knowing what you want.” – Adelyn Birch

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