11 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work

Published November 9th, 2022 - 01:00 GMT
11 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work
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Many of us spend a minimum of 8 hours working, and learning how to set healthy boundaries is imperative to ensure we do not become demotivated, burnt out, or even worse;, violated. 

However, knowing where to draw the line and how to set boundaries in a healthy and clear way can be a challenge for many of us. 

Here are 11 ways that can help you set clear, healthy boundaries at work: 

  1. Know your boundaries 

An important part of setting healthy boundaries involves learning how to set boundaries with ourselves and not just with others. By identifying our values and things that matter to us the most, we can learn how to honor them. 

A person who values honesty for instance will need to be around people who are honest. Once you know your values and limits, you can move on to set boundaries with others. A person who values honesty, for example, has to surround themselves with people who are honest. Knowing that honesty is a high value will help you set boundaries with dishonest people at work, and other aspects of your life as well. 

  1. Set your priorities

Once you are aware of where your boundaries are, you can move on to learn what your goals are and prioritize them. 

For instance, if your goal is to get a promotion then you need to prioritize your tasks to help you achieve your goals. Knowing which things you need to focus on can help you set boundaries with yourself and avoid overworking yourself. 

  1. Learn to say “No”

“No” is a powerful word that many of us have to use more often. Taking on too many tasks or doing things that are not part of your tasks can lead you to burn out. That is why knowing when to draw the line and say no is instrumental to avoid burnout. 

While saying no can be difficult for some, the key is to start small and build from there. You can start declining any meetings that are scheduled during your lunch break. Prioritizing your tasks and goals can also help you determine which extra work you need to say no to. Learning to say no will help you reinforce your boundaries and stick to your goals.

Ultimately, successful people did not become successful by saying yes to everything and pleasing others. They reached their success by working smartly and knowing when to say no. 

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” —Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the top 10 billionaires

  1. Know your triggers

A huge part of understanding where to set your boundaries is knowing what makes you stressed, anxious, and on edge. Knowing what triggers you can help identify where you should start drawing lines. 

Whenever you are in a situation that leaves you feeling angry, frustrated, or on edge, take note of these situations and use them as your compass. By doing so, you will be able to know things you cannot tolerate and then set boundaries accordingly. 

  1. Set clear limits

While many people know what their boundaries are, some still fail to actually put them in place. Setting clear limits is key for others to know where your boundaries are.
If, for instance, you value your time after work and do not like to be disturbed, make sure you silence any work related notifications. 

  1. Communicate clearly

You know what they say, “communication is key”. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are not only communicating, but that you are also doing it clearly and efficiently. 

So many things get lost in translation, and so you cannot expect your leader or teammates to know what your boundaries are if you are not vocal about them. People who do not work after official working hours because they value their family time have to communicate that to their managers beforehand.

Do not wait for people to magically know where your line is. Instead make sure you draw it clearly and be explicitly vocal about it. 

  1. Do not be quick to respond

Sometimes employees find themselves asked for things suddenly and have to answer on the spot. Be aware of this trap and do not fall for it! Instead, professionally ask your managers or team for some time to think about it and provide your response after evaluating things. 

This is especially important when you are asked to take on a new project when you already have a lot on your plate. By taking the time to evaluate the situation, you can reply in a more logical and efficient manner. 

  1. Ask for help

One saying I always find myself repeating at work is that “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!”

There is a reason most jobs have teams working on similar projects. It’s so that you can have your team's support when needed! If you feel you are overworked, it is okay to triage your tasks and ask for your team's help. Knowing when to let go and trust your time is essential for both your wellbeing and your team’s! 

  1. Take time off

In a time when going above and beyond to succeed is normalized, it is more important than ever before to take time off. You deserve to take a vacation and simply disconnect from your work. 

Take your holidays whenever you feel it or if someone suggests it is time you do. Losing your vacation days is not something to be proud of, and your future self will probably wish you chose to rest when you had the chance. 

Remember, you have a life outside the walls of your job, so make sure you live it. 

  1. Turn to professional advisors

Sometimes turning to a mentor or someone you trust on how to deal with certain situations can give you a fresh perspective on things. Asking experienced professionals like a leader you trust or even a career coach on how to set and maintain healthy boundaries at work can be a great way to get you started. 

However, make sure that you ask people whose values and boundaries align with yours. 

  1. Make use of technology

Technology has become a permanent part of how we live and work. Try to take advantage of the tools it offers to signal your boundary. For instance, if you are on a launch break, make sure your status is switched to “away” or “busy” so people know you are not available. 

Another thing you can do is to set your phone to “Focus” mode, where you set your stand working hours and your phone turns off all notifications related to work once these working hours are done.

Make technology your best friend, and let it help you set boundaries! 

In general, setting boundaries is much easier said than done. But we all need to realize the importance of having healthy boundaries at work. Failing to set healthy boundaries will only cause more issues for you, your team, and your experience. 

healthy boundaries at work
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