While the beauty of technology is what enables us to connect more intimately with friends, family, or colleagues who are sitting in a different location, it is also what can impede our ability to actually get anything done. The ease of access to anyone and everyone, all day every day, prevents us from being able to tune out the noise and dive into deep work.
This is particularly true when your home suddenly turns into your office and you can no longer see the clear difference between private time or professional expectations. Your desk may be in your living room, or your kitchen suddenly becomes your office. When do you get to “shut down” for the night? When do you decompress when your commute is cut down from 30 minutes to the time it takes from the bedroom to the living room.
While it’s always important to be clear about when you are working and when you’re not, working from home requires an additional layer of boundaries to be established to give you the clarity of work-time and not-work-time — not only for your benefit, but also for the benefit of those you work with.
Sometimes people are afraid to set clear boundaries — they don’t want to seem too bossy or pushy, they don’t want people to dislike them — but in my experience, the stronger my boundaries are, the more the people around me respect them.
In the days when I used to work in an office with a team, I would set clear expectations that 3 days a week I would be leaving at 6:30 PM to attend a spin class, or that on certain days I wouldn’t make it in before 10 AM. This wasn’t intended to rebel against the rules or set new work times or structures for others, it was simply to help me take ownership of the different areas of my life and to communicate clearly with those around me what was important for me to be able to work productively.
Setting boundaries while working from home might seem impossible, especially for those who have family members or partners at home with them. But even in these circumstances, the structure of what is and is not okay will help others to be more respectful of you and your time.
Here are 8 ways to set clear boundaries to help you manage the borders between your work and private life — especially when working from home.
If you are a person who has not set clear boundaries previously, you can expect that you will get some pushback. People won’t be used to meeting with a wall when trying to reach you, and it may be off-putting at the beginning. But the more that you have this reaction, the more you can be sure that the boundaries you are establishing are necessary.
People, ultimately, respect boundaries once they are clearly communicated. Just think of how many times you’ve asked someone for a favor and they told you they couldn’t manage because they had another obligation. Chances are, you didn’t get angry at them for it, but replied with something similar to, “Oh, no problem, let’s find another time then.”
Setting boundaries can feel nerve-wracking, and definitely takes courage, but once you’ve done it you will feel an immediate sense of relief at knowing that you are creating space for yourself to be productive and effective during your working time, and able to totally shut off and relax when you’re “off the clock”.
Through coaching with Amanda, you will clarify your purpose & values, and start to feel confident in your ability to inspire, engage, and lead others.
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