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How Boundaries Open Doors

2021 has been the year for boundaries. Both setting my own with intention and making others aware of theirs, or lack thereof.

I recently set some very strict boundaries around my time, who has the privilege of my time, and how I spend it. It’s been the most freeing feeling ever. Odd isn’t it? Actually boxing myself in with boundaries, opens my world up.

The Power of No

No is such an incredibly powerful word and essential in boundary setting. When asked to do something–volunteer, attend a party, dog sit, or answer a work email on the weekend–I stop to think about my boundaries and goals. What do I miss out on if I say yes to this? What do I gain by saying no?

I say no a lot. Saying yes to attending a party might mean missing out on family time I cherish, for a party I am not interested in.

Saying yes to email on the weekends mean time away from being my weekend warrior self. It also prevents the rest, both mentally and physically, I need to conquer the week as the best agent I can be.

My Boundaries

I’ve always been pretty good about boundaries. I don’t communicate about work things via text because it makes it difficult to keep track of necessary communication I might need later. Texts also don’t always allow for time to think and process the way email might.

Working on weekends is taboo, or at least, I don’t engage with work people on weekends. I might read submissions or queries, but I do not check email or Slack. Engaging means I get pulled out of the simple weekend life and even if the email is quick, the headspace it takes to answer takes far longer.

Work hours are work hours. Play for play. I try to remain present whenever I can (my head is terrible at it). By being intentional that I don’t do non-work things (coffee dates, volunteering, or tea parties) during work hours makes it easier for me to do only play things during play hours.

Whenever I set a new boundary like not answering the phone for a toxic person, I feel a million times lighter and freer. Weirdly, the more boundaries I have, the bigger my world becomes.

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2 comments

  1. I love this! Having set a writing schedule for myself doesn’t restrict me, so much, as it restricts other people’s intrusion on my time. Everyone knows, now, even my dentist: if they want me to do something, it’s going to have to be on a day that begins with T, because Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my writing days. I mean, people did try to challenge that at first! But I stood my ground and they backed off. I almost never have to remind anyone anymore.

    It’s also wonderful to see that at least one other human in this country does not believe our jobs should own us 24/7/365!

  2. Lockdowns and working from home have made boundaries much harder to define. I’m looking forward to life settling into some sort of new normal so I can re-establish boundaries – I struggle with being strong about them at the best of times!

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