the trio of boundaries you need at work

Make Work Suck Less

New this week from the home office

Hi Reader,

For me, 2023 was all about boundaries.

Establishing them. Communicating them. Reinforcing them. Putting systems in place to maintain them.

Boundaries. Boundaries, everywhere.

Before we dive into three types of radical boundaries that are crucial to self-care, I just want to set the record straight on what boundaries are and what they are not.

myth-busting boundaries

A common myth about boundaries is that they are inherently selfish. Some people believe that establishing and enforcing personal limits is self-centered or inconsiderate of others.

But this misunderstands the purpose of boundaries.

In reality, boundaries create clarity and foster respect between yourself and the world around you. Establishing limits helps you define your needs, protect your mental and emotional space, and communicate effectively with others. Healthy boundaries are an essential aspect of self-care.

Creating them will help you build stronger, more authentic connections with others.

And, the reason I was all about radical boundaries this year? It helped me stave off full-blown burnout from setting in.

the boundary triad

I’ve zeroed in on three types of boundaries that help me navigate life with intention, resilience, and authentic connection.

  1. Time: How you choose to spend your time
  2. Energy + attention: What you choose to give your attention to
  3. People: Who you choose to give your time + attention to

Notice there's a lot of choice in there.

Let’s consider how we can implement these boundaries to make work suck less.

time boundaries

Prioritize tasks that align with your personal goals. A lot of this comes down to time management (and in my world, that means calendar management).

  • Set priorities: Identify tasks that ladder up to your personal, team, or company goals and make time for them every week in your calendar.
  • Just say no: Decline meetings that don't align with your priorities. Here’s a great response to try, “I’m focusing on XYZ for the next 4 weeks but I can meet with you to discuss this in more detail next month. In the meantime, please connect with XYZ who is managing this program.”
  • Schedule breaks: Build breaks into your daily work schedule.
  • Establish me time: Dedicate specific periods for self-care and personal activities. “Mom time” is a real daily time block on my calendar.
  • Audit and adjust: Regularly audit your schedule to make necessary adjustments. Where are you spending the most time? Is that time serving you reaching your goals?

energy + attention boundaries

AKA Give A F*cks. Safeguard your mental health by prioritizing activities that energize you when they energize you.

  • Identify drainers and boosters: Make a list of everything you do in a week. Highlight the things that deplete and the things that replenish your energy.
  • Peak hours: Identify your peak energy hours during the day (mine are 10am-2pm) and schedule deep work activities (e.g., strategy, creative tasks) into that time. Save the admin and routine tasks for when your brain isn’t on high drive.
  • Work-life boundary: Set clear distinctions between work and personal time, and as much as possible, try to avoid mixing the two.
  • Delegate: Delegate tasks when possible to reduce the burden.
  • Notification management: You decide which work-related apps live on your phone and how many are have notifications enabled.

people boundaries

Establish and communicate limits with the people in your life, and spend your time with the people who energize you

  • Learn to say no: Everyone has that one toxic coworker (you’ve already got someone in mind). Keep your interactions to a minimum and strictly professional. Don’t give them any more airtime than necessary.
  • Personal time: You decide how much or how little you engage with coworkers–set Away messages while you’re in deep work, don’t attend the holiday party if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
  • Recognize red flags: Be aware of behaviors that violate your boundaries and address them either directly or through your manager.

next week!

Want to dig in more to how you can leverage boundary-setting for more balance in 2024? I'm hosting free workshop on overcoming burnout.

Grab a tired and touched-out work bestie and register for Break the Burnout Cycle: Your Blueprint for Balancing Work, Life, and Personal Growth on Thursday, December 28 at 2pm ET.

One more week, fam. You got this.


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Hi! I'm Cassandra Babilya.

I’m a mom, certified career coach, ex-spy, and corporate culture leader. I'm driven to make work suck less by helping women break the burnout cycle, pivot with purpose, and thrive in their careers. I believe everyone deserves to wake up excited and energized for the day. Together, let's find the perspective you need to work, create, and build from a place of joy, not dread. #makeworksuckless

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