Review and renew your boundaries to rejuvenate yourself
Too often, many of us overlook the importance of creating the space and time to reflect on what we’ve learned, where we want to go next, and what new boundaries we need to create to get there.
Being halfway through the year and with so much going on around us, now is the time to review and renew boundaries. With the impact and uncertainty of the global pandemic, the hybrid workforce at stake, juggling family life, relationships and more, it’s no wonder taking the time to reflect and reviewing our limits often takes second place.
Many things are beyond our control, but the good news is that we all have the choice to choose and influence how the rest of this year unfolds both personally and professionally. Like writing a new chapter in a book, we choose the settings, themes, characters, and ultimately the story of our life. Every choice is in our hands.
As a starting point, we need to set boundaries and know what we stand for and what we don’t stand for. Brené Brown says, “Boundaries are simply what works and what doesn’t”. Nothing complicated but we do it often.
Limits are like speed bumps on the road; without them we can lose control and end up anywhere.
A limit can be as simple as saying no to certain people and events or creating the start and end times you’ll work that are essential in the new world of hybrid working.
Failure to set limits and stick to them can lead us off course, cause unnecessary pain, distort our path, and influence others, especially if we are leading, to follow our example. Having both personal and professional boundaries can help us fully invest ourselves in everything we do, set a clear path to success, help us gauge where things stand, and keep things real and relevant.
Take the time to:
- Set boundaries and know your boundaries and what you do and what you don’t stand for.
- Build self-awareness of these limits.
- Consider what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past and present.
- Measure them continuously.
- Get help to live with it.
- Friends, co-workers and family.
- Communicate clearly what it is.
Are your boundaries blurred?
For me, one boundary that had blurred, especially during the height of the lockdowns, was that of work-life balance. Working remotely 24/7 on my business and writing a book left me with very little time to play, which is something important to me. This is an area that many leaders find difficult, and it’s usually because they don’t set clear guidelines on what you will and won’t accept. Now that I work both in and out of the office, I have set a limit that I will not work past 7 p.m. on weeknights. This will ensure that I get exercise and spend time with my family. By providing time to recharge, my performance and energy increase, and I give my best to those around me, including my family and clients.
According to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace study, 53% of employees said that a role that allows them to have a better work-life balance is “very important” to them. Workplace boundaries help you achieve and maintain balance in their domain. It’s a great example of the need to set boundaries both in and out of work, as one supports the other.
A limit adopted by many leaders I work with is to leave their phones at the door when they enter their homes at night. It gives them what I call “cybercleaning” and helps them be present and all there when they get home. I encourage anyone with a busy mind to keep a journal and write down whatever comes to their mind once they park their car at home. Leave the newspaper in the car and close it for the day. Externalizing our thoughts, ideas, and to-do lists can get them out of our heads and free up headspace and anxiety.
Borders come in many forms:
- It’s about your personal space and tactile considerations.
- The rules you apply to physical boundaries will define this for you and could include things like handshakes or hugs at work, where your desk is, and how and what you set up as an environment.
- Your thoughts, opinions and values will determine your mental boundaries.
- Setting boundaries around your routine and how certain things can work at work is one example. Be clear and stick to the rules you have set and avoid (if any) ideas from others about influencing or changing this.
- It’s about getting in touch with your feelings and emotions and setting boundaries around these can help you see the differences between those you have and those around you at work.
- Knowing who and when to say yes or no to when it comes to tasks can help you avoid letting the feelings and attitudes of others influence your own attitudes and motivations.
Think about the boundaries you need to:
- Switch off
Individually, as a team and organization, invest time in reviewing and renewing boundaries. Create new team norms and ways of working by letting go of things that no longer serve and create new rules of what is and isn’t acceptable.
Written by Renée Giarrusso.
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