Whether you’re a professional working 9-to-5 in an office, a work-at-home mom, or a new freelancer, boundaries are important in both our personal and professional lives. Sometimes we might not even realize we need to set a boundary until we’re deep in the trenches of someone overstepping them.
Been there, done that.
But I also know that without communicating clear boundaries for our friends, family, and work relationships, we will do too much for too many people. This will eventually lead to stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout. Our tempers will get shorter, and we’ll begin to feel resentful when really, it all could have been avoided simply by setting some boundaries.
The shift and trick I’ve made in setting better boundaries is saying this to myself:
“If I say yes to this, it means I’m saying no to this.”
Saying no to something isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Saying no to something that is seemingly important is also OK. What you’re saying no to is different for each individual person.
The important thing is that you’re asking yourself that question first. It will help you put in perspective what’s important and make it easier to say yes or no to something.
For example, maybe you’re short on money this month. You need to make a little extra in your business to help make ends meet. But your schedule’s full. You work Monday through Friday and take weekends off, but you know you need to make some extra money, so you say yes to taking on an extra project.
When you say yes to this project, that means you’re saying no to taking the weekend off because you’ll need to work in order to make ends meet this month. And that’s OK! It makes the boundary easier to set and stick with.
However, let’s say a client comes to you with a last-minute project that needs to be done over the weekend. But you have a beach trip planned with your family or friends for the weekend.
Is it worth it to say yes to the project and no to the weekend plans you already had in place?
It’s OK if it’s worth it to you just this once, but if it’s not, you need to be able to say no to that person because your trip you already had planned is more important.
Your answers to this question will depend completely on you and your priorities, the situation, and the season of life you’re in. But this question will help you feel in control of the situation and that you have choices in that particular situation.
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