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Unlocking Productivity and Peace: Tips to Setting Boundaries in your Personal and Professional Life

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Boundaries are an essential part of living a life that is joyful, balanced and productive. And yet many of us do not set them in our professional and personal lives.  I think perhaps that is because we fear what others will say or what they will think of us if we do.    

Boundaries are about people and relationships, so they impact both your work life and personal life.

But at their core, boundaries are for you.  

Personally, this came front and center for me last week during a conversation with an old family friend.  We’ve been friends for 30 years now and for the past 10 of them, I have been ignoring my personal boundaries with her.  She is old enough to be my mother and she has gone through her life in an opposite way than me.  For most of my life, I have preferred the people-pleasing route. I was uncomfortable with being too direct and potentially creating disharmony in a relationship.  She on the other hand, has absolutely no filter.  She just says whatever is on her mind without regard to how it is received.  And in addition, she takes no responsibility for the outcome of her massive blurt outs.  She also likes to load on guilt when you aren’t doing what she wants you to do; like phone her regularly.

Because I was a people pleaser, I always overlooked her behavior and as a result, I was effectively approving of her ways.  Now 30 years later, I just can’t do it anymore. Is it fair of me to ‘change the rules’ of our friendship?  Can I put down a boundary for my own sanity?

The answer is yes.  

But how I go about that matters. Creating a boundary doesnt give me the right to be mean and hurtful.

You create boundaries in your life for your sanity, for your well-being, and for a space for you to thrive.  They are not meant to keep people out as much as they are rules that you stand by. They say: this is how I would like to be treated and how I will thrive.  And it is how you can expect me to treat you.

Some examples of boundaries in the workplace:

  • Communicate upfront to your team, boss and colleagues what is acceptable and what is not.
  • Get comfortable saying no.  You are the only one who can protect your time, which is your most valuable asset.
  • Define your consistent work hours and stick to them.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Set expectations on how to give and receive feedback.
  • Delegate appropriately.

Some examples of personal boundaries:

  • I expect friends to be on time or to call when running late.
  • I only date people who respect me and show it through their words and actions.
  • I expect trust and confidentiality to be honored.
  • Saying no is ok.
  • I give myself permission to take time off each week to do the things that bring me joy.

Defining and then writing out personal boundary statements can be very empowering. The act of creating them helps you to define how you want to live your life. And how you intend to interact with others.

What are your boundaries?  Both at home and at work.  Have you ever considered them?  If not, why not now?  

Creating clear boundaries for yourself is an expression of self love.  They reflect who you are in everything you do.  And they help build self esteem, resilience, and confidence while saving your inner peace.

Here are a few things to consider when drafting some for yourself:

  1. Think about your values and priorities, both personal and professional.
  2. Understand your limits.  When does stress & burnout begin for you?  You may find that you have “hard” boundaries (never broken) and “soft” boundaries that can be broken when required or needed.
  3. Get comfortable with saying no.  You do not need to say yes to everything to be liked and respected.

Remember, boundaries are for you.  

Take a moment to think about your key boundaries and how they will help you in your life.  And each year, make it a tradition to read them and make tweaks as needed. After all, as human beings we are in constant growth and change, so your boundaries need to change with you.

As for my friend, I’m certain we will find our way forward together.  It just takes respect, empathy and love – for yourself and your relationship, to create a pathway that works for all.  

You can Emerge Positive!



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