Finding Balance: Establishing Boundaries Between Home and Work

With school back in full swing, I’ve been coaching women on establishing good boundaries between home and work,

so I thought I would share some of the insights women have taken away from our coaching sessions recently. Boundaries are important as they help us create a sense of structure, promote self-care, and prevent burnout. They allow us to be fully present, both at home and in our professional roles. By acknowledging the need for boundaries, we take the first step towards achieving a healthier work-life integration.

Acknowledge the Need for Boundaries

One of my clients started our session by telling me she had no idea what she needed in our session – she just felt like the last month before school started all of her time was being monopolized by her teenage kids. She finally paused and said, “I think that maybe I need some boundaries.” As we talked, she determined that setting up boundaries now would be a bit easier for her as her kids were back in school, so she didn’t have to force so much structure on them all at once.

Define Your Work Hours

One effective way to establish boundaries is by clearly defining your work hours. This means setting a specific start and end time for your workday. Communicate these hours with your colleagues and family members, so they understand when you are available and when you need uninterrupted focus. One of my clients decided to establish a totally rigid boundary here, telling her colleagues that she was not available between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am. There were a few people who bristled; however, she concluded that she craved structure and the firm boundary would help her find that structure if she knew she could focus on work up until a certain time and then give her family her undivided attention around the dinner table each night.

Designate a Dedicated Workspace

A client is still working in a hybrid environment and she wanted to cut down on her kids interrupting her work when they came home from school and before her work day was over. During Covid, she worked in the basement while each of her kids did school from their bedrooms. However, as her kids have turned into teens, they have transformed the basement into a teen hangout space and she never designated a physical workspace within her home for her. This, she said, is what caused a lot of issues and interruptions. She decided to set up a cozy corner with a desk and comfortable chair in her bedroom. By designating this space, she let her family know that she was not available for interruptions when she was at her desk. Having a dedicated space not only helped her stay organized; it also mentally prepared her for work mode when she entered that area.

Establish Digital Boundaries

Technology has blurred the lines between work and personal life, making it difficult to disconnect. I had one woman in a group coaching room admit that she needed work iPhone boundaries, yet she was scared to do so. Her boss started texting and emailing very early on Saturday mornings and she was in the habit of responding to him immediately. She finally agreed to try a boundary just once. She would tell her boss that she was not available for a Saturday and would get back to him on Sunday after she returned from church with her family. She said her boss wasn’t upset at all and actually made a comment that he wished he could set up a boundary like that, too. While she told him he could, she hasn’t convinced him yet that he can. Regardless, she now makes this a habit.

Communicate Your Boundaries

Effective communication is key when it comes to setting boundaries. Discuss your work-life integration goals with your family, friends, and colleagues. Focus on yourself and your needs and clearly articulate your expectations, ensuring that everyone understands and respects your boundaries. This open dialogue establishes a supportive environment and can encourage others to set their own boundaries as well.

Prioritize Self-Care

Healthy boundaries also involve prioritizing self-care. A number of my clients now have time for yoga classes on Tuesdays, happy hours on Thursdays, and reading books on Saturdays – things they would have skipped before as they had no time for self-care. By making time for activities that recharge them, my clients feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Work with me

Establishing boundaries between home and work is crucial for achieving a healthier work-life integration. If you’re struggling to establish boundaries or aren’t sure where to start, click here and find a time for us to talk. I would be happy to help you, just as I have helped many others.

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