Skip to main content


Building boundaries​

Really useful training on building the personal work/life boundaries.

Kaitlyn Daniel

Why boundaries important:​

  • Boundaries are the path to self respect
  • The most compassionate people are the most boundaried
  • Prevents burnout and resentment

Resentment is part of the Envy family of emotions.​

  • I'm not mad because you're resting, I'm mad because I'm so bone tired, and I want to rest. But, unlike you, I'm going to pretend that I don't need to.
  • I'm not furious what you're okay with something that's really good and imperfect. I'm furious because I want to be okay with something that's really good and imperfect
  • Your lack of work is not making me resentful; my lack of rest is making me resentful.
  • We are resentful when we aren't getting our needs met, and it looks like others are.

Indicators of poor boundaries​

OverallAt WorkAs LeadersAt Home
  • Resentment
  • Burnout
  • Frenzied
  • Not recovered after time away
  • Feeling unappreciated for all of your sacrifices and commitment
  • Coming early or staying late
  • Taking on too many projects
  • Checking your email at all hours and on vacations
  • Being the single point of failure
  • Not delegating responsibility
  • Consistently taking on tasks your team drops
  • Always being available, even on vacations
  • Taking care of everyone else before yourself
  • Doing chores others forgot to for (or giving up on them ever doing them)

What messages do my lack of boundaries send?​

Behavior: Sending or replying to an email at 11 pm.​

The message I think I'm sending:

I'm committed and on top of things.

The message I am actually reinforcing:

My needs and my family aren't important. I'll be available all hours to succeed.

Behavior: Picking up the slack for someone else.​

The message I think I'm sending:

I'm a team player.

The message I am actually reinforcing:

You don't have to be responsible for your work because I'll be responsible for you.

Behavior: Avoiding conflict to "keep the peace".​

The message I think I'm sending:

I care about the group.

The message I am actually reinforcing:

My needs don't matter. You can push me around. Any conflict is bad.

Protecting your Time and Space​

  • Work and non-work hours
  • Response time to emails and chats
  • Reasonable deadlines for tasks
  • Workspace and non-workspace
  • What you will outsource
  • Radio silence plan for off hours and vacations
  • Buffers between meetings or non-meeting days

Protecting your mental and emotional bandwidth​

  • Increase clarity and communication (paint it done)
  • What predictability do you need? What flexibility do you need?
  • What behavior you will and won't tolerate from others.
  • Transitions and recovery
  • What mental load are you carrying?

It's up to you​

  • It's up to you to set your boundaries
  • It's up to you to uphold your boundaries
  • Leverage resources and technology:
  • OOO settings
  • Disable notifications
  • Accountability partners

When others don't respect your boundaries​

  • Calmly and clearly remind them of your boundary
  • Stick to your boundary If you bend, you send the message your boundary (and you) don't matter
  • What recourse do you have?

Modeling for others​

  • Many people don't think others have successfully established boundaries (they don't know it's an option) Share how the conversation went
  • Simply and clearly share your boundaries

    I don't check my email between 5pm and 8pm. That's family time.

  • Talk shift

    When do you need this by?

    • versus - I can get this to you next Tuesday. If you need it sooner, tell me which project I should put aside

In summary​

  • Boundaries are hard. And they are the path to self-respect, compassion, balance, and high performance without burning out.
  • Poor boundaries send unintended messages.
  • Boundaries protect our time and space, our priorities, and our mental and emotional bandwidth
  • It's up to you to set, communicate, model and protect your boundaries.