setting my own boundaries and why should you too!

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I learnt about boundaries the hard way. You see I have never really had any boundaries or set any for myself. Let me explain.

When I worked in corporate our hours were 8 am to 5 pm (standard) with the exception of deadlines and submission of proposals which would be 8 am to 1 am. Yes 1 am somedays even 5:30 am. How often, you ask? A minimum twice a month.

Did we get paid extra for the overtime? A hard no.

Did we get time off for extra hours? A hard no

Could you take a day off in between? Yes and no – If you took a Monday or Friday off, you were required to produce a doctor’s note. So inevitably you don’t take off.

Looking back now as a self-employed woman, the above did not make sense, This continuous rat race is was lead to my burnout, my anxiety and fluctuation of weight gain.

Mental Health Awareness is at the forefront of many corporate organizations here in North American but back down in South Africa, The biggest concern is whether or not we will have electricity in the morning. Right now, South Africa is going through “load shedding”. A term is known as the deliberate shutdown of electric power in a part or parts of a power-distribution system, generally to prevent the failure of the entire system when the demand strains the capacity of the system.

What has this got to do with boundaries? Well, what if I made my boundaries known to my employer then don’t you think we could plan and communicate better?

  1. Time – is valuable and something we will never get back. Knowingly I had a family that needed me to be home at a certain time. To do bath time and ready a story and prep for the next day. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

  2. Communication – structured planning and schedules allow people to work at their best, Knowingly they are aware of their output and deadline.

  3. Requesting a time frame – not everything is urgent. This is something I have learned in North America. Allocating realistic deadlines gives employees the confidence to manage expectations and workflow.

  4. Allocating the right resources – one person is not capable of doing six people’s work. Multitasking is the most common word that is overused, We tend to take on more than we can handle.

This all led me to burnout and hospitalization twice.

Reflecting on the above has forced me to create boundaries not just for myself but for my personal and mental stability.

  • I have chosen to work from 10 am to 5 pm

  • I have allocated early mornings at the gym for myself

  • I have chosen to only look at emails twice a day unless there is something urgent brewing.

  • I have now stipulated in my email – to expect a reply in 48 hours.

  • I would like my time to be respected and vice versa

  • I would like us to have clear communication lines with deadlines that are realistic.

  • Every client is important to me and therefore I want to be available to support all but there are times when I will not be available.

  • While I build my business from the ground up, mistakes will be made, teach me.

  • Support me and I will support you right back.

  • Don’t just like, like and comment and even share. This is how we build a community.

There are enough hours in our day we just have to make use of it to the fullest by being mindful of how we spend it.

What boundaries have you set for yourself? Does any of this sound familiar? I would love to know what you have adopted and how it is working for you?

with love,
Vanisha Singh