Monday, August 30, 2010

Setting Boundaries at Work

Do you struggle with setting boundaries? Do you know how to set healthy boundaries in your life? The book Boundaries written by John Townsend and Henry Cloud convicted me that there were some boundaries in my life that I needed to work on.
While reading the book, I was working for a company that was making me miserable, stressed and due to the stress, unhealthy. I used to love my job until new management took over and only viewed us as money making machines. I was desperate to leave but felt stuck due to the pay and benefits. I had to learn how to not allow the job to affect who I was as a person. I started by saying “No” to the projects they wanted me to take on. I was one of their top performers so they continually gave me extra projects they wanted done. By saying “No” I was able to free up some of my time to focus on the work I enjoyed doing. I taught myself to not check my emails after work hours or on weekends. And guess what…the world didn’t end. I was able to start reclaiming the joy I once had at work.
It is very hard to draw boundaries when it comes to work—especially when you fear losing your job in this tough job market. If you are struggling with setting boundaries at work or in other areas of your life, then I would highly recommend checking out the book Boundaries.


  1. I don't know that I can actually say "no" to a project. But I have pointed out the consequences of being assigned more projects than can actually be done within the requested time period. I have pointed out that, OK, I would be happy to do Project X, but then I will not be able to get Projects A, B & C done by their initial requested deadlines. Sometimes this brings about rescheduling that makes things workable. Sometimes not. Sometimes I have not been forceful enough with my timeline objections, or too often, overly optimistic about my own abilities to get an excessive amount of work done in a given time period.

    Anyway, your post has reminded me that it is my responsibility to clearly affirm what I can or cannot accomplish, which is information my employer needs. And I need to be more realistic about what I can accomplish, so I don't end up promising more than I can actually do.

    Thanks for your blog posting!

  2. I think it is great how you have handled making your supervisor aware that you were assigned more than what you can get done in a timely manner. That is a very healthy way to draw boundaries and in the book Boundaries they talk about doing it the way you have described. Thanks for letting us know a very healthy way you have drawn boundaries at work.