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Setting Work Boundaries as a Leader

| May 13, 2020

As a leader, it can be tempting to overwork yourself for the good of the team. After all, many people rely on you to help them fix their problems, so saying no is not always an option. However, far too many leaders work late nights and weekends, and it can be even more difficult to avoid this when you are stuck working from home. Still, it is important to find ways to separate work from home, so follow these tips to help you keep a hold on your life.

Set Working Hours

The biggest way to help yourself set boundaries is to set office hours for yourself. For many leaders, a salaried position comes with regular work hours, but may extend far beyond that. Set a time when you will come into the office, a time for lunch, and a time to leave. Stick to this schedule to show your team when they can expect you to be available. Of course, emergencies may arise, but are usually rare. Try not to spend more than a few days per month working past your scheduled hours. Over time, you may even find ways to improve productivity and never have to spend extra time at work.

Create a Work Area

If you work from home regularly, or you are on an extended work from home schedule currently, you must consider creating a work area separate from your relaxation areas. People who work on their couch or in bed tend to dwell on their work after hours. Instead, set up an office space for yourself where you can focus without distractions and power through your tasks. Even working at a table or a small desk can make a big difference.

Take Breaks

Everyone needs breaks. It’s been shown that people who do not take breaks throughout the day are less productive than those who do. Therefore, there is no excuse not to give yourself a 10 or 15-minute break two or three times each day. Spend this time completely disconnected from your work. Then, when you come back, you will feel much more refreshed and able to focus when it really counts.

Stop Accepting Requests

Leaders often accept requests from both their team and their boss throughout the entire day. Although there are the occasional time-sensitive requests, most issues can wait overnight. Thus, it can be helpful to set a time of day when you will not accept any more requests for that day. For example, if you have a packed to-do list, you may want to stop accepting more tasks after lunch. Tell your team to keep a note of what they need and get back to you first thing the next morning. If you work through your list more quickly than anticipated, you can always reach out to people early to see what they need. Doing this will prevent you from staying late due to a never-ending to-do list. 

Setting boundaries is essential for any leader who wants to maintain a work-life balance. It will help you stay on top of your personal life, as well as alleviate stress and improve your mental health. Try out these tips to begin setting boundaries at work.


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