This week is the beginning of a weeks long vacation for me–something that I have been equal parts excited and anxious about. When you work as I do, with a ‘mobile office, I can be reached anywhere’ sort of setup, vacations can quickly turn into something that resembles work with a side of vacation. I wanted to take a moment to talk about how important setting boundaries are when you’ve set aside time for yourself because taking a break, taking time to relax is an extremely effective strategy for recharging your batteries, refueling your motivation, and re-energizing your focus.
Setting daily intentions can be an excellent tool to uphold boundaries. Maybe there is something specific you want to do in the day. Set an intention to follow through on that. “I will go for a walk outside”. The ‘I will’ statement is extremely important here is it’s giving your brain direct instruction for what you want to do. The other key is this is that it’s for what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do. So, saying “I don’t want to spend all day at my computer” isn’t nearly as effective as the “I will go for a walk outside” statement because, well, not being at your computer could look like a million other things besides going for a walk outside. We have to be specific with our intentions. Think of it like driving instructions in an unfamiliar city. You wouldn’t want your phone telling you “Maybe turn left in 500m or so”.
The next thing to do is block time in your days. If you have to do some work, set aside specific time for it. Then, block off the rest of your day–make it unavailable. This step is crucial. People are forgetful–they don’t know your schedule or your whereabouts all the time. People are also inherently selfish–they need their tasks to get accomplished, their questions to get answered, etc. If they see you’re available, your work email or messenger will behave as if you’re ‘in the office’.
Finally, allow yourself to step away from your work. Completely. If you can, mute your email notifications and teams app. The less reminders of work that you have popping up in your day, the more likely you are to stay on track with the quality R&R time you’ve set aside for yourself.
You have to set boundaries for yourself…no one else is going to do it for you!
– Coach Lauren