Beat Stress: Five Boundaries You Must Set to Be Happy and Productive
Most people these days feel overloaded, overworked, overtired, over-everything! Not only are our plates full but our china is cracking under the weight of so much to do!
May I suggest that boundaries are the key to regaining your energy, your peace of mind, and your productivity? Think about it. If you're going in a million directions trying to please everyone, will you ever reach even ONE destination? You'll drive around in circles or a zigzag, but you certainly won't get anywhere.
Let me suggest a few boundaries you can set that will free you up for success:
1) Shut everyone and everything out for just a few minutes each morning. Develop a daily practice of listening, a time alone in which you check in with yourself, review your mission, and ask, "What is the best, most valuable use of my time right now and today?" Use this practice for your personal and professional life and you will begin to see results.
2) When you are working, close the door, put up a "Do not disturb" sign, or in some way demarcate your work space as yours. If someone intrudes, let them know you can speak with them at a particular time. One manager I coached had great success reserving a particular hour early in the morning for her team to consult her about problems they were having with their work. Instead of doing her team's work for them all day long, this savvy manager set a boundary and therefore empowered her team members to find viable solutions while she completed her own projects.
3) Delegate, hire, barter, or refer out what you can't or won't do. I routinely have clients ask me for additional services such as web design or technological training that are out of my areas of expertise and interest. This gives me the opportunity to refer them to a qualified professional, someone who will take care of these needs skillfully. If you're not the right person for the job or it truly doesn't interest you, don't do it. Your time is too precious to waste doing something you don't know how to do, don't do well, or hate doing.
4) Make written agreements with your clients and even your kids. One of the most powerful actions any manager, supervisor, or parent can do is to hold a group meeting and create a list of "Team Rules." Whether we're talking about a work team, focus group, or family, everyone needs to feel invested in these rules of conduct. When people have helped create a rule, they are far more likely to adhere to it. As you put the responsibility back on them, this frees you up for your own life and affairs.
5) Be clear with yourself. If you feel that someone has overstepped boundaries and not valued you or your work, take time to comprehend exactly what you think and feel about the situation. What is your part in it? What can you and the other party do to resolve the situation? Then figure out a way to politely approach them to express your thoughts and suggest a course of action.
How can you tell if you need to be more vigilant with setting boundaries? You're antsy, irritated, even resentful of people, your job, your family, and daily tasks. One thing is clear--No one will set a boundary for you. It's up to you to do some soul searching and figure out when you've been giving too much so you can reach a state of equilibrium again. It's up to you to extinguish the fires of burnout with some good, kick-butt boundaries that enable you to manage your life--and your stress level--with ease.