Why I’m Setting Boundaries

Recently, my to-do list at work has been a mile long and keeps on growing.  After four weeks of long hours, I finally started to feel burnt out.  I was being consumed by my job and knew that I needed to set some boundaries.  As I headed into a new week, I told myself that I was going to leave work on time every day, even if all my to-do’s were not finished.  It is now day three of that new week and I feel much better than I have in the past month.

The challenge is, I am a very goal-oriented person and I want to complete my work projects as fast as possible so I can move onto the next one.  I thought that working late and even putting in time on the weekends would help me finish projects even faster but as it turns out, I was wrong.  My brain was overwhelmed with too much information and I had a hard time focusing on anything.  I was not being efficient with my time and I was not doing a great job at managing my to-do list.

I was working longer hours but never seemed to be happy with what got done.  By the end of the fourth week, my energy was low and my focus was lacking.  I decided to set the boundary of leaving at 5pm every day for two reasons:

1) I would have time in the evenings for personal to-do’s and self-care

2) I could give my brain a solid break before the next day of projects started.

So far, setting this boundary has helped me tremendously!

My old mindset was to work until everything on my to-do list was completed.  Because of this, I was already going into the day feeling tired and unfocused, because I knew I would be working late.  My mood was off and therefore, my focus and productivity was off.

Since I started setting boundaries, the first thing I do in the morning is create a to-do list and allocate chunks of time to each project that I need to work on (only up until 5pm).  Even if I’m not finished with the project or where I thought I would be, I stick to those time frames I set for myself at the beginning of the day.  Before doing this, I was jumping from one project to the next and then back to the first project and I could not focus long enough to actually make good progress.

Setting these time frames at the beginning of the day actually helps me focus more and get more done.

Every job has its busy seasons and deadlines need to be met; and sometimes this requires us to work later than normal.  I think what we need to be aware of is when we are overworking ourselves and feel like we are getting nowhere.

When you find yourself in this mentality of “work, work, work”, check yourself.  How much more are you actually getting done when you work late hours?  Would you benefit more if you actively chose to recharge your battery instead?  My bet is when you actively choose to recharge, your work will get done more efficiently.

Even during those busy seasons, remember to do at least one thing (no matter how small) for yourself every day.  Keeping up a self-care routine will help you to recharge your battery!

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