Now more than ever, when overwhelm and mental exhaustion are commonplace, we need to get better at setting boundaries.
But where and how?
Here are four areas that often need boundaries or boundary-improvement. Doing so will increase your authority and model self-care to others.
Create finite starting and ending times for meetings and work conversations. Schedule a non-negotiable afterwards if you have longwinded colleagues.
Your time is valuable, but you need to value it as well as teach others to do the same.
Conversely, pay others the same respect by being organized for meetings and keeping them on track so that you can reasonably stay within your time constraints.
Carve out non-negotiable time for self-care, be it exercise, meditation, journaling, or savoring a cup of fabulous coffee. Figure out the one thing you need every day to be your best. Do it the same time every day, so people get used to not being able to interrupt you.
Keep it sacred and protect it diligently. This will save you time and energy in the long run.
Decide the level of privacy you need to be comfortable. Be okay with saying, "I'm not comfortable with that," or "I value my privacy."
Authenticity and vulnerability can co-exist with privacy.
Some people need more work/life separation than others. Privacy levels can also change or evolve with time. When people understand your limits, they will be more comfortable knowing that your need for privacy is simply a personal choice and has nothing to do with them.
Don’t take on others’ tasks before completing your own, emergencies excluded. Keep a running tally of all your duties and make sure your superiors are aware of all of them. Let them know if it's too much before it’s too late.
More than once, an overachiever has resigned exhausted, only to be replaced by two people instead of one.
Bosses can’t read your mind and neither can employees or team members. Communicate your needs and delegate when appropriate.
Learning to set boundaries and stick to them protects you from overwhelm, exhaustion, and burnout, but it's up to you and you alone to do it. When people see that you're serious about valuing yourself, they won't be as likely to cross those boundaries and will respect your authority even more.