How I’ve started setting boundaries at work

Work is an important part of life, but it is not the only part. Often, it is not even the central part. 

Boundaries with our work are hugely important in maintaining healthy life relationships, adequate physical care for our bodies, and even influence our productivity at work. We need emotional boundaries: not taking work home with us in our brain and heart. We need physical boundaries: not spending all 24 hours in the office.

I’ve been counseling for 10 years now, with some work-from-home jobs and some drive-to-the-office jobs and even some go-to-the-client’s-house jobs. Each needed unique boundaries. 

Here’s how I started setting boundaries at work:

  1. Prioritize. I regularly identify and review my priorities. My husband is a higher priority than returning every email, for example.
  2. Work Hours. Each day ends at a different time, so I tell my husband when I’ll be home for dinner, and then I refuse a late afternoon snack. Trust me, I’m leaving on time when I’m hungry and want to get to dinner! 
  3. Sabbath. Every week. And I don’t look at smartphone apps that might tempt my brain into “work mode” during that time.
  4. Prayer. I pray at the start and close of every day. I pray before answering the phone at work. I pray to open and close each counseling session (sometimes out loud). I pray every morning with my family. I pray every morning by myself. (Do you see a pattern???)
  5. Accountability. My family can tell when I’m getting stressed out. My body can tell too, I get back pain and can’t sleep well. I’ve asked my husband and others to speak truth into my life when those warning signs appear. 

What boundaries have you set with work?

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director