I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the best life lessons I've learned from my job. Since then I've been chatting with friends and coworkers and I've gotten a few questions about how I establish healthy work boundaries.
Honestly, this is still new for me. I used to be the type who would always work after I clocked out and would work myself to the point of getting sick and burnt out. So, when I started my new job I was determined to set healthy boundaries so I could show up in the most effective way possible in all areas of my life. I have to say, I've even started implementing some boundaries when it comes to blogging as well.
That being said, here are some of my work boundaries, why I make them and how I implement them.
No Work Email on My Phone and Personal Electronics
This one is big for me. I've talked about it on here before but I used to struggle with feeling like I constantly needed to be connected to work. Between emails, calls, teams messages, texts, you name it I felt inundated with work all the time. It was so bad that I felt like I couldn't go through my days off without making sure to check all of my emails and apps because God forbid I miss something when I'm not at work.
So, when I started at my new job and I had my work electronics and my personal electronics I decided I was going to set a physical boundary to help with my electronic boundary. Honestly, this was easier than I thought. It took some time to get used to but it was easy.
Rather than linking all of my work accounts to my personal ones or adding my work accounts to my phone, I just set up my work computer to contain all of those and left my personal electronics alone. This way I am less likely to open my work email on my days off/vacation because it's not as simple as opening an app.
No Correspondence on Days Off
Goin off of my previous boundary, I make it a point to avoid corresponding with coworkers (on work related tasks) on my days off. Sure, sometimes my coworkers and I hang out and share stories, but I'm not working so we don't brainstorm for projects, etc.
I have to say, I'm also very fortunate to work somewhere where everyone respects each other and their time. No one is constantly bothering each other and the only way we would call someone's cell phone is if there was an actual emergency! This makes it really easy to keep a boundary between work communication and personal communication.
When it comes to blogging and socials, I also make sure that 2 days a week I am "out of the office" when it comes to working and communicating. As much as I love it, taking a break is good and this starts by giving yourself time off!
I get to work consistently 15-30 minutes early every single day (you'll see why later in this post). But I leave consistently at 4:30-4:45pm every single day too. I work better in the mornings. I also work better when I am not burnt out and by the end of the day I am tired. Not to mention, sometimes I have plans after work. That's why I've got a hard stop at 4:30pm every day. By the time I've packed up and cleaned up my office I may be walking out the door a little after that, but I'm done at 4:30pm.
If someone wants to schedule a last minute meeting, it needs an end time of 4:30. Again, I have amazing coworkers and they are so respectful of these hard stops (plus nearly everyone in the office operates this way) so it's not too hard to implement this.
Honestly, it's harder for me when I'm working from home because I love my job and I love to work! If you're like me and you struggle with this, I find making a plan (even something as simple as I'm walking my dog at this time) and then setting an alarm for the time you want to implement the hard stop in your day is a fantastic way to start.
Controlling My Calendar
I cannot talk about this enough but controlling my calendar is one of the biggest keys to keeping my boundaries at work. Of course I've talked about how I schedule my days and color code a million times so I won't get into that. But, I will get into how I control my calendar when there are meetings and events scheduled by other people that I need to be at. Here's the deal...
Every Friday afternoon I look at my personal calendar, my to-do lists and my work calendar for the next week. I update everything in my work calendar. I'm talking when I'm taking my lunch break, if I'm working in the office or remotely, any tasks or deadlines, all of it. Then I take a look at any meeting requests I have. My office uses Outlook which makes sending meeting requests so easy, and it shows them all as tentative until I respond. I'll go through and accept all of the meetings I need to be at and fit my schedule and that's it. Then, at the beginning of each day I'll go through and add in all of my tasks and any last minute meetings to my calendar.
This works for me because I'm able to still adjust my plans as I need to but I still don't feel like my day is controlled by someone else's schedule.
Taking the First 15 Minutes of My Day to Myself
This one might seem a little strange to some people but I'm telling you it's huge. I hate feeling like I have to immediately be ready to go when I get to work in the morning. I need time to get my space set, check my calendar and take a sip of coffee. That's why I get to work early.
Ideally I wouldn't have 8am meetings, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes that's the time that works best for everyone. I was finding that if I showed up to work and did not have time to myself I was constantly feeling behind all day, even when I wasn't.
So, the first fifteen minutes of my day are my uninterrupted time. I come in, shut my office door and take the time I need for myself. Since I get to work early it makes it easy because people are still getting to the office, but it's easy to do on days I might be running late too.
I don't check my messages or emails right away, I really just take the time to get my head right before getting into work.
I'm telling you, if you don't have boundaries set up for your work now, you need to start. It might be hard to establish these now, but it is so worth it and ultimately leaves you feeling so much better. Do you have any work boundaries? Share them on my latest Instagram post!