Do you ever feel overwhelmed at work? The answer is probably pretty obvious: YES. It’s easy to become overloaded and feel overworked and overwhelmed. And while most of that is due to the nature of work in general, it might also be attributed to a lack of professional boundaries.
Boundaries – it’s a word you hear a lot when it comes to your personal life, I’m sure. Boundaries inform how you let people treat you, how you interact with people in your life, and how you prioritize your time away from work. So, why can’t boundaries apply to your work life as well?
Jess Tyson, in her appearance on The Growth Lab Show, talks about professional boundaries and how setting them in your professional life is just as important, if not more so, then setting them in your personal life.
So, how exactly can you do that? Here are some tips!
1. Just Say No
Easier said than done, right? You might be trying to master this in your personal life, so adding another layer by saying no at work may be a lot to handle. But the positives outweigh the negatives.
While you want to be a good business owner or coworker and take on as much as you can for the good of your business, it’s not possible to say yes to everything. There are some things you’ll flat out need to say no to. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get done. You can rely on other people within your business to help you determine how to get things done, even if you’re not able to do them yourself.
Which brings me to my next point…
Just because someone asks you do something doesn’t mean it’s actually necessary. Or if it is, it might not need to get done right then. We live in such a culture of immediacy – we expect something to be done right away, no matter what the ask is. But that’s not feasible. When you’ve already got a full load of work, you have to prioritize, which can be difficult.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your goals. Professional boundaries aren't just here to keep you from burning out, they're here to help your dreams come true. If the task or request isn’t going to help you get where you want to be, it’s probably not important. Or, if it might contribute to the big picture, but it’s not a huge factor, it doesn’t need to be done right away.
3. Manage Your Time
Managing your time goes hand-in-hand with prioritizing: Prioritizing your tasks at work so you’re focusing on the big bucket things first. But also prioritizing your time away from work, which plays into both personal and professional boundaries. (Check out our Lab Notes featuring Jess's tips for auditing your life so you can start to prioritize your time here.)
Because of our culture of immediacy and because technology makes it so easy to stay connected all the time, you might see your professional and personal lives intersecting because there’s no off switch, especially when it comes to running a business.
But it’s important to set aside time away from work to help you connect with your loved ones and detox from the stressors of running a business. This can also mean adjusting your expectations of those around you – just because you send an email at midnight doesn’t necessarily mean your team members or vendors are going to respond, and at some point, that has to be okay. Accepting others’ professional boundaries is just as important as setting your own.
4. Outsource What You Can
There are some things, when it comes to your business, that have to be done. But that doesn’t mean you’re the one that has to do them all! Like we mentioned (and linked!) above, Jess suggests performing a life audit to determine what you love, what’s necessary, what’s unnecessary, and what you hate, and then outsourcing the things that you hate but are still necessary. This could be tasks like billing, scheduling, and more. There are plenty of tools and resources that can help you outsource tasks both big and small so you can focus on the more strategic aspects of your business while the tactical parts are still getting done.
Speaking of outsourcing…a big thing you can outsource is your marketing! And we’re here to help. We want to take things off your plate to help you excel at setting professional boundaries while focusing on growing your business. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can partner for success.