When boundaries are not upheld at work, you may feel helpless or taken for granted.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your work schedule? Do you accept each new project that comes your way? Does your supervisor regularly request last-minute trips across the country?
If this describes you, you probably feel out of control and overburdened. According to studies, job stress has steadily increased over the past few decades and is by far the main cause of physical and mental drainage.
1. Request aid
Asking your manager for guidance could make setting limits at work very simple.
Start by making separate lists of the things you and your supervisor each feel you are responsible for in your position. Set a priority for the matters you believe deserve your attention next.
Last but not least, agree on priorities.
2. Perform an audit
Beyond just talking to your supervisor, carrying out a boundary audit will help you understand where you need to create boundaries. Start by becoming more conscious of the individuals and circumstances that worry you. Put them on paper. You may need to reevaluate your boundaries or explain them more clearly if you catch yourself getting angry, resentful, or guilty.
Start establishing boundaries after you have a sense of the areas on which you need to concentrate. One illustration would be to avoid checking work email between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. so you can concentrate on family time. Another option is to inform your manager that you require advance notice of any work-related travel so that you can schedule vacations.
4. Express yourself clearly
Once you've established boundaries, you need to confidently and clearly explain them to your team. For instance, let your team members know exactly what times you will be available for work-related chats if you don't want them to call you at all times. If you want to avoid being reached while on vacation unless there is an emergency, be sure to make it clear. The best reminder is: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37.
5. Assign more
A good leader knows how to delegate. You may not be delegating work well if you are asked to complete the tasks of 10 employees and feel overburdened by your workload. Thankfully, this is a capability that can be learned. Recognize your team's abilities, trust them, and learn to let go.
6. Pause mindfully
The art of pausing is a technique to prevent yourself from regret. For instance, pause before responding the next time your employer asks you to take a last-minute business trip. You will get the option to check in with yourself using this technique to see whether there is a conflict.
Never underestimate the power of a prayer-oriented discernment, it can be just a heartfelt conversation asking for God’s intercession or the Holy Spirit’s guidance to render a decision. Some might also resort to breathing exercises or a quick walk in nature.
8. Create a plan
Create structure if you frequently find yourself lured into protracted meetings with your supervisor. Setting an agenda is one method to do this. A plan of action gives you power and positions you as the leader. Another way to add structure is to set up a meeting when none previously existed. Perhaps a quick weekly check-in is more effective than having your boss drop by your office frequently.
10. Get ready for resistance
You can anticipate negative responses from others once you begin setting appropriate limits. This demonstrates the necessity of the border and its efficacy. Additionally, it can be beneficial to picture your boundaries being crossed and practice your response. This is what the disciples have faced while roaming cities and spreading truth, We, as catholic professionals, are called to learn from them how to best handle such circumstances in consistent and persistent ways.
The steps outlined beforehand are to be considered as a customizable handbook. Every personality has its own characteristics and coping mechanisms. All life experiences and work interactions are to be respected and treated individually. Meanwhile, Micah 7:11 perfectly sums it up: “A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended”.
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