How to Set Boundaries
Now that most of us are spending more time at home and in front of the computer, it’s easy to say yes to every webinar, virtual happy hour, and everything in between.
It’s laudable to want to help others by getting that virtual networking coffee, but it should not come at the expense of your own work or mental health.
“These demands on your time sound little, taken individually. But remember that you have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else,” Gene Hammett says in Inc.
Setting boundaries is not only beneficial to your own well-being, it creates an example for your team to not expend so much energy that you do not have enough time for your own work and personal life.
Hammett offers four ways to set reasonable boundaries.
Question your motives
For every request you receive, take time to question why you would want to say yes. For example, are you helping a cause you support, or will this enrich your life in some way?
“Get real with yourself about why your knee-jerk reaction is to agree. If you’re simply boosting your ego or distracting yourself from something harder you don’t want to address, that deserves a no,” Hammett explains.
Lay out a calendar
Hammett recommends scheduling everything into a calendar, not just your work obligations. Do you need time to meditate? Do you need to catch up with family and friends?
If it’s not in your calendar, you may forget to do it and schedule something else on top of it.
Think of the ripple effect
Think of the opportunity costs that exist with any offer. If you agree to a project that will take 20 hours per month, you need to consider where those 20 hours are coming from.
Predict boredom and fatigue
Consider how you will feel about whatever you agree to a week, a month, or a year down the road. Do you think you will still be excited to participate after the gratification of being asked wears off?
“Being a leader with multiple intriguing opportunities at your feet is a nice problem to have,” Hammett says. “But you’ll create much gnarlier problems for yourself if you don’t learn to determine what really deserves your time.”