Work: how to set boundaries

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Work: how to set boundaries
Work: how to set boundaries

Do you love your job? So much the better! But does it take up too much space? Maybe. Here are some tips for better managing professional life and family life. It is possible!


That's it! September is here. While planning for the return of the children, you gave yourself goals for work, including setting limits. No more endless evenings of closing files or correcting copies! No more obsession with email, mailboxes, open computer even during meals and smartphone that follows you everywhere even during your weekends. We must learn to set limits so that work does not constantly encroach on our personal life. Otherwise, we risk suffering… physically, mentally and emotionally!

Hard stop

Stopping is hard! But necessary. Many learn it the hard way. Our body is the first to fail. On leave for the summer, Pascale could not take full advantage of it. She dragged a strange cough for some time blaming it on probable allergies. Then, seeing that nothing was improving, she decided to go see the doctor. Verdict: pneumonia. In all, she was sick for five weeks. The doctor met is formal:40 years old, you don't have pneumonia like that; this is a sign that his immune system was completely depleted. Pascale thought a lot while slowly regaining her strength. She came to the conclusion that she was stretching her energy reserves far too much and worrying too much about her work. And even though she adored him, she had to find ways to better compartmentalize her job and not let it take over her energy… and her he alth!

On your side, did you also get sick when you finally went on vacation? Many of us are in this situation. Once the stress has subsided, our strengths leave us in turn. Stopping for a bit, just for yourself, is not an easy task. We always have before our eyes “I should do…”, “I must not forget…”, “I could finish…”, etc. But you have to learn, slowly, to stop and choose yourself! In fact, physician-turned-lecturer and author Richard Swenson once said, “Boundaries create space in our lives and schedules. Limitlessness is the disease of our decade, and limits are the cure. »

If we always do too much, if we don't have clear limits, we…

  • Live more stress
  • Is less receptive to others
  • Scatter and get dizzy.
  • Eating up our reserve of energy and patience
  • Puts our he alth at stake
  • Sleeps less well or even suffers from insomnia

How to do?

Establish newrules

For example, you could say “Never phone or email between 5 and 7 p.m.” or “I allow myself an hour of work, no more, when the children are in bed, if necessary”. The idea is to set a time limit and stick to it.

Learn to say no

A colleague asks us for help, our boss has an urgent file to pass on to us: it doesn't matter, we learn to say no and to respect our other commitments (with our family, our lover, our friends, etc.). Ask yourself the question: are you still ready to put off a meeting with friends for your work?

Compartmentalize your planner

Put color codes in your diary. One color for work, another for family activities/obligations, another for your hobbies, etc. Try writing down everything you do in a day with these codes (you can do them with a highlighter, it's easier!). You will see where you put the most energy and this may be enough to encourage you to set limits…

Identify real emergencies

What is a real work emergency? It is true that there are things you cannot escape and that you absolutely must do. But there are other things that can wait until tomorrow. Write down what for you is a real emergency. The rest can wait. We often tend to want to pedal as fast as possible and see everything as a national emergency.

The benefits of limits

  • Besthe alth
  • Less stress and tension
  • More time for leisure
  • No longer available for others and for you
  • More overall satisfaction

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