Work-life balance doesn’t create itself. In our first article, we established what can cause an imbalance in the work-life dynamic:
- The need for distraction
- Belief that working more equates to living more
- Feelings of boredom
Simply Hudson can work with you on a major principle that will put you on an even keel: Boundaries.
What Are Boundaries?
Think of them as a delineation of one thing from another. Physical boundaries, like a wall, keep you distinctly separate from what’s on the other side. Boundaries relating to work-life balance are intangible, but they can be just as powerful and effective.
You’ve likely heard the expression “work to live, don’t live to work.” Setting clear boundaries can help you do just that. When one creeps too far over the line, efficiency goes down while the stress goes up. It’s perfectly acceptable to have some overlap, but creating separation between work and life will be most beneficial to you and those around you.
How Boundaries Help You
We’ve learned the hard way what a lack boundaries can do, but we’ve also been enlightened to their importance and benefits. Others in our industry agree, and our clients have seen results as well! Witnessing these boundary-based transformations is the most rewarding part of our job.
I can be very hard on myself, at times self-critical, but Nicole has been able to guide me out of these negative thought patterns and into positive forward momentum. She probes deeper, finding the root of the problems, so I can make more meaningful adjustments in my life. She’s been instrumental in instilling the importance of boundaries so I can make myself a priority.
~Helen Nalls, Simply Hudson Client
How Boundaries Support Work-Life Balance
Stay Present to the Task at Hand
The Boundary: Schedule specific time for tasks and mitigate potential interruptions such as muting your phone, instant messenger, and email.
The Result: No more multi-tasking! Focus on tasks with dedicated energy and mental power. Setting aside specific time slots keeps you focused on productivity and in control of your time. Turn off the notifications and stay present. Make use of productivity techniques, such as the Pomodoro Method, to help find your best balance.
The Boundary: Schedule a solo date to create and protect personal time to recharge and stay at the top of your game.
The Result: You need to be your best self in order to be there for those around you. Personal time allows you to recharge and reflect in whatever way you need. Without this recharge, you’re on the fast track to burnout. If you’re feeling drained of energy, disorganized, or lack passion, take a look at when you last made time for yourself and carve out space for some personal care.
The Boundary: Limit your contact methods for commitments, whether they are projects, events, or friendly catch-ups.
The Result: When combined with focus, limiting your contact methods allows you to reduce distractions and fights for your attention. As a result, your mind won’t have to flip from one thing to another as frequently, and you have more ability to maintain your organization. You also won’t have to go searching for that little detail from that one person – unsure of whether it was in email, text, IM, or elsewhere.
The Boundary: Carve out time in your schedule to deal with the unexpected.
The Result: It may seem contradictory, but boundaries allow you to create flexibility. When you delineate the use of your time, you prioritize and allow your mind to stay on track. When the unexpected pops up, drop it into your bucket of items to come back to. Choose when, where, and how to use your time rather than allowing the unexpected to steal your freedom.
The Boundary: Know when to say no.
The Result: Knowing when to say yes or no makes decision-making a whole lot easier. Think through your hard and soft boundaries and make notes as requests come your way. A hard boundary may be to not check your work email on vacation. Doing so is a slippery slope, and you’ll find yourself stressed about your job instead of enjoying the sun and sand. Soft boundaries are more flexible, such as accepting a new project provided other responsibilities are offloaded or agreeing to short-term overtime in exchange for more time off. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say no.
Identifying When a Boundary is Needed
Burnout. Overwhelm. Stress. When you feel like the Energizer bunny has finally run out of batteries. You want to disconnect, cancel plans, or feel the need to work non-stop. These are signs to set and reinforce your boundaries to be your best self. But it takes self-reflection to know your needs and self-compassion at the realization an imbalance has gone too far.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
More to Come on Work-Life Balance
Reflect on the above questions and stay tuned as we share more on this topic in the coming months. As a core strategy we give to our coaching clients, boundaries set the foundation for a good life.
To see our past article on what contributes to a work-life imbalance, read A Balancing Act Worth the Wobbles.
We’d Love to Work with You
Struggling in your new remote work environment? Not sure how to stay on task? We’d love to help you overcome remote work challenges you’re facing! Contact us and we’ll set up a free consultation call to discuss how we can help.