Eliminate overwork by setting boundaries

Overwork is pervasive and often ignored for the sake of achieving our business goals as owners. It’s incumbent upon us to recognize overwork and minimize it. If we fail to, we and our business can suffer devastating consequences. Too often we have seen examples of owners and professionals working themselves into poor health and ultimately causing more problems than if they had simply managed to overwork better. In this blog article we’ll discuss how we can use boundary setting to help eliminate overwork and some of its nasty consequences.

Will overwork get to you?

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Let’s begin by taking a closer look at boundary setting.

The importance of boundaries

When you read or hear the term boundaries you may default to thinking about boundaries in a certain way. Yet there are a number of different types of boundaries to enforce in the workplace. These could be physical, emotional or even time-based. In all likelihood, we should have clear boundaries set for each of these subsets, especially as owners. 

If we fail to establish clear boundaries it’s almost certain to lead to overwork among other consequences. As with everything, excellence in business commonly falls into the realm of communication. To establish these boundaries we need to communicate their importance and where they fall. Doing any less it’s tantamount to accepting the result of overwork as an owner. 

Likewise, by setting boundaries we can insulate ourselves from potential issues with our employees, our clients and even our personal relationships that can also be impacted. Clear boundaries also help develop and maintain trust as they provide a consistency we can come to expect and need to exemplify as leaders and owners.

Practical ways to implement boundaries

Implementing boundaries must begin with self-awareness. Specifically, when addressing overwork it’s critical to identify what boundaries you need to establish in order to protect against overwork. Are those boundaries emotional? Do they come in the form of time-sucks? Identifying what boundaries need to be set to protect against burnout and overwork are really recognizing signs of our own personal limitations and making sure that we respect those ourselves, first.

Once we identify our personal limitations, communicating these boundaries becomes essential. We recommend having open and honest conversations with constituents, up-front, about boundaries. Let people know not just what the boundaries are, but why you’re implementing them and what the consequences of breaking those boundaries are. 

The last step to implementation is enforcement. Often, this comes down to us enforcing our boundaries on ourselves and not on others. Most of the time it’s more difficult to enforce on ourselves than others anyways and respecting our limitations is a sign of maturity that ownership mandates. Make sure to hold your boundaries as important as you would hold another person’s boundaries and you’ll be starting in a good spot!

When you fail

It’s a given that there will be instances you fail to uphold your boundaries. Whether it’s a self-created failure, a violation of a boundary from another or a change in what boundaries are in place – this will happen from time to time. A couple of keys to remember here. Do not feel shame or guilt at establishing and enforcing boundaries. Boundaries are essential to protect against overwork and a slew of serious consequences that can and will derail your life and business. If you’re feeling shame or concern by establishing boundaries, remind yourself of why you needed to in the first place!

 When others violate your boundaries you can reaffirm them positively without creating more conflict. Reiterate the importance of the boundaries to them and communicate the need for boundaries.

 Remember as well that your boundaries can and should change. We are not static nor should our boundaries be. As our business matures and we develop its common to see a change in what boundaries we need and want to implement. Consider the boundaries that you set on a semi-regular basis to protect yourself from setting boundaries that are no longer necessary or beneficial to you or your business.

If you’re looking for more help with boundaries consider our IVOLVE + THRIVE owner advisory boards. For mature business owners, these boards are constructed to address isolation, overwork, and blindspots so owners can lead with exceptional clarity, worth, and freedom. You can learn more about IVOLVE + THRIVE here.

How do you set boundaries?

Let us know your thoughts, you can email us at info@jbandthedoctor.com!

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Not enough time in the day, we get it. Check out our AYOP course, 2x Your Time, right here. We walk through everything from time management and calendar basics to how you can supercharge your days weeks and months through practices and techniques that are grounded in experience and proven by science.

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