Think about work life pre-covid-19. Individuals were taking work home, answering emails and phone calls after 5pm and even completing reports from bed. Yep, I had to say it. With COVID-19 many businesses and their business models had to shift, even if they weren’t open to doing it in the beginning. Now the work environment looks so different. Many peoples home spaces are now their work spaces as well. While this is ideal for some people and alot more flexible, it doesn’t leave alot of space for boundaries without individuals being intentional. So why is it difficult to maintain work boundaries? Lets get into it.
1. You see others around you overworking themselves to get things done
This is very common in many workplaces, especially pre-covd-19. We are seeing our co-workers getting the job done because they are putting in these “extra” hours. The idea of “grind culture” and hustling being the main mode of success is dangerous. Yes, I mean deadly. While effort and good work ethic are a part of success, everyones success will look different. But one primary piece thats is remains centric to the most successful people is self-care. They prioritize themselves the same way they prioritize their work. Take a look at your calendar, are you on it? No I dont mean your hair appointment or hour at the nail salon. I mean is there blocked space for meditation, reading time undistracted, a 30 minute silent break, or an outdoor/exercise break. Yes it takes intentionality and planning to implement these things but just like you prioritize your work meeting with your boss, you can prioritize and schedule time for yourself. Overworking is not the goal, planning is.
2. Your self-care is not a priority
Prioritize yourself. Just like I shared above, you have to schedule time for yourself just as you do anything else on your calendar. If you saw my calendar right now, everything is color coded and I plan out time for each important thing in my day. Do I always get it right? Absolutely not. Did it take me a while to get to this system? Yes. But despite all of those things, when I use it and im intentional, it works in my favor because I also feel taken care of. Try this method out with your phone calendar and see how it works for you. Make sure youre on your schedule each day, just like everything else “important”. Your wellness matters.
3. You don’t have a routine
Think about what do you do first thing in the morning. What about in the evening after work? Whether you realize it or not, you have set a routine for yourself even if your morning begins with laying in bed on your phone for an hour. Your routine sets the tone and carries you throughout your day, if you dont have one or the one you have is filled with maladaptive tools then this is part of the reason you may feel all over the place. A cluttered space equals a cluttered brain. If your space or your schedule is all over the place, it is not going to be the best environment for your brain to thrive. What can you change or add to your routine that may be a more positive tool or routine?
There is an overarching theme with these points, SELF-CARE. Take time this week to plan time for you and watch how much more protective you become over your energy and your time.
Here are a few responses when you’re struggling with implementing your boundaries in the workplace:
“I will be unavailable for phone calls or emails after 5:00pm. I will reach out _______ morning when I get to the office.”
“I will not be available while im on vacation.”
“Let me check my schedule first.”
“Thats not going to work for me/my team schedule, What I can offer is _______.”
You can do this! Let me know your feedback
Alexis Long-Daniels, MA, ALC, NCC