Do you ever feel like the time gets away from you at work, or the energy you had coming into the day is sucked out of you by the day’s end? In some cases, this might be a natural makeup of your job or the industry you’re in. But, more likely than not, if there are established work boundaries in place that you actually stick to, you can protect your time and get back the drive that helps you feel purposeful and motivated throughout your workday.
And with all the time you spend at work, why wouldn’t you want to feel this way?
So, what can you do to establish and protect work boundaries? Start with these 4 steps.
Understand Your Value
You won’t honestly believe you deserve to set boundaries if you don’t know the value you bring to your work. Consider your skills, experience, and even the quirks you come with to determine this. What makes you different is what defines your worth. No one else can bring to the table specifically what you can. Once you realize the value you come with, it’s time to put boundaries in place to protect that value and allow you to capitalize on it.
Determine Your Non-Negotiables
What is it you can’t live without in your work world? Are you someone who needs solo time to recharge, or are you someone who thrives on words of affirmation? If you’re asked to work a Saturday and do so, there’s a trade-off somewhere else in your life. The same goes for if you take on a project outside of your responsibilities at work. Consider what the trade-offs are and what you’re willing to give up. From there, create a list of non-negotiables and stand by it.
Remember Your Remote Environment
Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean your boundaries stay in the office. If anything, working from home comes with a whole new list of boundaries you need to establish. With the proximity between work and your personal space, you need to draw a solid line between work time and home time. And it isn’t just about determining the line between the two. You need to then communicate this separation clearly to colleagues and boss.
Maintain Your Professional Relationships
Don’t miss the message because this doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate meaningful relationships at work. On the contrary, you’re more likely to enjoy work if you have people you look forward to seeing and who motivate you. However, someone you consider a “work husband,” “work wife,” or “work bff” can muddy professional waters. So, as long as you keep things separate between being friends and coworkers, your work boundaries will stay in place.
Delegate Your Work
Setting clear work expectations will take care of protecting this boundary. You should know the work expected of you, the lane you need to stay in, and what your job entails. However, collaboration is critical to business success, so you also need to understand where you can help fill holes and be a team player. Helping out your colleagues is different from going outside your responsibilities’ scope. When tasks or projects fall into that, that’s where you need to delegate.
Setting boundaries at work provides a clear path to perform your job best, avoid toxic relationships, and understand your workplace.
What types of boundaries do you have in your current job, and which ones are you hoping to set as you move forward in your career? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How to Stop Procrastinating.