stressed working woman biting pencil

How To Set Boundaries At Work

Work forms a huge part of our lives. After all, we spend a considerable amount of time at our workplace. Suffice it to say, most people tend to think that their work is their identity. If you ask someone about themselves, they’ll probably start by telling you their name and what they do for a living.

If you tend to do this as well, you need to realize that your work is a part of your life… not your entire life. And that is exactly why setting boundaries at work becomes so important. These boundaries not only help save your time and energy, but they also help you stay healthy so that you can maintain balance between the priorities in your life.

Yes, if you’re not used to setting boundaries, you might feel a little weird at first. You might even feel like you’re not being as kind and compassionate as you want to be. But, eventually, you will realize just how important boundaries are. And you will be grateful to have them. With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways of setting boundaries at work.

1) Work In A Way That Is Energizing

Your energy and time are limited resources. As such, you should use them wisely. In a world full of distractions, this becomes even more important. But how exactly should you do this?

boundaries at work eliminate notifications

Well, the first thing you can do is disable app notifications on your smartphone while you’re working. If you’ve ever been distracted by a social media alert and wasted hours scrolling your feed, you must already know how crucial this is. Also, while you’re at home with family or hanging out with friends, you can disable notifications for your work apps so that you don’t get disturbed while you’re having some quality time with your loved ones.

Another thing you can do is block your schedule when you’re most productive. This means, when you’re “in the zone,” you should just continue doing what you’re doing as that’s when you’ll get the most work done. Schedule your hardest work for when you have the most energy in the day. Push or postpone some other tasks to lower-energy times.

2) Express Yourself With Confidence

The way you communicate influences how others behave with you and interact with you. It also dictates whether or not they respect your boundaries. So, trust yourself and always talk in a confident manner.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re speaking to someone face-to-face or talking over text or email. You should be clear, concise, honest, and assertive. If you have trouble doing this, try channeling a powerful role model. For instance, you could observe how other respected leaders communicate, or even fictional characters for inspiration on how to express yourself firmly. Practice saying the boundary-setting phrases out loud, including the posture. This will help you practice setting boundaries with words, body language, and tone.

Also, communicate your boundaries so others know what’s expected. Doing so will also tell them what you’re comfortable with, what you won’t tolerate, and what you might let slide. And if they violate your boundaries, address the issue immediately. This will prevent them from disrespecting your boundaries in the future.


On top of this, tell others how you prefer to be communicated with. If you don’t like it when someone beats around the bush, tell them! If you prefer their requests get sent documented via email, say so. This can save you a lot of headaches in your day-to-day life.

3) Spend Time On Activities That Recharge You

Even though working on your dreams and goals and achieving greater targets at work is obviously a good thing, you must also remember that you are a biological being. Your body and mind have energetic limits, so you must take good care of them. People who don’t do this often face burnout and have to take an extended leave just to get back to feeling normal.

So, how can you refuel yourself? Well, discover things that can help you recharge mentally and physically. For example, you could meditate for fifteen minutes to feel calmer and more peaceful, you could take a 20-minute walk in a nearby park, you could go workout at the gym or stop and savor a meal, and so on. There are many activities you can do at work or at home to keep yourself energized. Create a list of your favorite recharging activities and commit to working them into your routine.

Remember, there are other areas in life apart from work that need your attention and energy equally. And that can only happen if you stay rejuvenated.

4) Acknowledge And Celebrate Your Wins

celebrate wins and rejoice with boundaries
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

In the pursuit of your dreams and goals, you might completely forget about the present. You might be so focused on the proverbial finish line that you might not even realize how much you’re already achieving daily. Although this laser-focused state of mind can be a good thing, it can also wear you out. Eventually, you might feel as though you’re getting nowhere.

So, it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about and celebrating your milestones, no matter how small or big they may be. Take this time to appreciate your hard work and get your bearings. You could also use this as an opportunity to take a break and share some happy moments with your closest people.

5) Understand Your Worth

Last but certainly not least, understand your worth! You are a truly capable person with infinite potential within you. You can achieve and do anything you put your mind to. It’s just a matter of believing in yourself and understanding that you are indeed worthy.

Women who don’t know their worth often throw themselves into their work so much that their output or productivity becomes their measure of how worthy they are. This is obviously not how it should be done. Your productivity doesn’t define you as a person, nor does the perception of your colleagues. There is much more to a human being than just work. A person’s principles, attitudes, perceptions, ideas, potential, values, and other factors play a much bigger role.

Also, knowing your worth will prevent you from agreeing to things that you don’t really want to do, whether at home or in the workplace. It will help you say “no” to people and save you some precious time and energy. If you’ve ever said yes just to be nice to the other person even though you hated it, you already know how important this is. Knowing your worth helps you know yourself, getting familiar with what boundaries you wish to enforce and improving your self-respect.

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