Setting Boundaries

Wrap Up the Year

It’s that time of year again when we’re wrapping up 2018…putting a nice big bow on all of our accomplishments and thinking about what we need to accomplish next year.  It’s a time to reflect on what went well in the past 12 months and prepare for the new year by pulling together a plan to support your personal and professional goals.

While many people focus on getting organized and managing files (electronic and paper - yes I do this also and value its importance!) I wanted to spend time this blog on discussing the value of managing yourself and others as I’ve found these can really be big time sinks for me.   

Setting Boundaries
Boundary setting lessens stress and increases a sense of personal power, a key emotional intelligence competency.  It allows you to feel as if you have control over your day, even with interruptions and unplanned tasks arising.

Overall, maintaining boundaries will increase efficiency, maintain focus on priorities, and greatly contribute to a positive work environment.  This in turn helps keep employees happy and reduces turnover.

Avoiding needy coworkers
People can fill up your day if you let them. Let gabby coworkers know you are interested in hearing about their personal stories, but establish an appropriate time for storytelling.  Other ideas to minimize time with coworkers who want to fill your day include:

  • Coaching individuals through their own problem solving vs. providing the answer.  This teaches them self-sufficiency.

  • Encourage them to bring suggested solutions along with problems.

  • Deciding if you will or won’t help.  Make sure you are actually making a choice.

Saying No
Are you a people pleaser like me?  I often have a hard time telling others no.  This is a skill I’ve worked on for a lifetime and am getting better at it.  Keep in mind,you are not responsible for pleasing everyone.

  • Express your priorities.

  • Let go of control and let others do their work.

  • Realize you do not need the approval of others.

  • Establish the expectations of the task before saying yes or no.

But what about saying “no” to the boss?
It is difficult to tell your boss no, but there are times when it is necessary—when you cannot possibly accomplish what they ask of you.  The best approach is to view “saying no” as a negotiation process.  You need to present your manager with the projects you are currently working on and what your focus is.  Ask for their input on priority, delegating, or delaying current tasks to take on the new assignment.  The key is to maintain open, direct, and honest communication.

  • Remind them of the status of current assignments and review how the new request will affect them.

  • Estimate a time frame for the task, if you accept it.

  • Ask the boss to prioritize the new and existing projects.

  • Keep a positive attitude.

Spend some time reflecting on possible scenarios that will occur this year with coworkers and your boss.  Envision how you will respond and what you will say.  Spending a few minutes preparing now could save you hours down the road.