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Organisational Skills for Busy Professionals: Developing Personal Boundaries in the Workplace That Save Time, Energy, Money and Relationships

 

Make no mistake – poor organisational skills are about bad habits. But the habits are the tip of the iceberg – the part that ourselves and others see. Underneath these habits lie mindset blockages that just seem to stop us doing what we really know we should be doing.

Time management, setting priorities, problems solving and procrastination are all essential parts of organisational skills (and are covered in my training course, “Organisational Skills for Busy Professionals) but what is often overlooked is the deeper issues of personal and professional boundaries in the workplace.

For years, I have been working with professionals within the workplace who are burnt out, unproductive, angry, overwhelmed and confused.  These are people who have a strong desire to do their best, but no matter how hard they try they just can’t seem to get on top of things and are left feeling inadequate, overwhelmed and anxious.

The workplace requires much from us but unless the busy professional gets on top of their personal and professional organizational skills, they will always feel that they are lagging behind. Developing personal boundaries within the workplace will save time, energy, money and relationships.

Recently, a manager confided to me that he had a major report to finish but just couldn’t get to it because his staff kept knocking on his door. He was feeling frustrated and his energy levels were lagging. After a short talk, we came up with a simple solution of setting a personal boundary – if his door was closed he wasn’t to be disturbed! The report was finished quickly and he was once again available to his staff.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you suffer from the need to please?
  • Do you find yourself saying yes when in fact you wanted to say no?
  • Do find that you treat others with more respect than you treat yourself?

Then maybe you are suffering from unhealthy personal and professional boundaries that cost you time, energy, money and productivity

What is a Personal Boundary?

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated by others or simply to protect ourselves from a busy work and life schedule.  They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.

It would not be possible to enjoy health, peak performance and healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others. We must recognize that each of us is a unique individual with distinct emotions, needs and preferences.

To set personal boundaries means to preserve your integrity, take responsibility for who you are, and to take control of your life.

What is a Professional Boundary?

This is the same as the personal boundary but it plays out in the workplace. For example, we may know that we are burnt out but keep trying to push ourselves to get a job done as we do not want to let the company, staff or clients down

What are Unhealthy Personal Boundaries?

Do you recognize yourself in any of the following?

  • Going against your personal values or rights in order to please others
  • Giving as much as you can for the sake of giving
  •  Letting others define you
  • Expecting others to fill your needs automatically
  • Feeling bad or guilty when you say no
  • Not speaking up when you are treated poorly
  • Saying yes to all requests because you fear rejection or what others will think of you
  • Tolerating abuse or disrespectful treatment
  • Feeling you deserve to be treated poorly
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Having little sense of who you are or what you feel, need, want and think
  • Not seeing flaws or weaknesses in others
  • Focusing on pleasing those around you to the detriment of yourself
  • Taking on the feelings of others

If you have identified yourself as having unhealthy personal boundaries then you most likely recognize that you are not as productive, successful and energized as you would like to be. In fact, with some people, unhealthy personal boundaries can lead to depression, anger or burnout

What Are Healthy Personal Boundaries?

Healthy personal boundaries are evident and effective when you know who you are, and you treat yourself and others with respect.

A healthy personal boundary is a space around yourself that gives you a clear sense of who you are and where you’re going. When you choose who and what you allow into your physical, emotional and mental space, you’re activating your personal boundaries.

Learning to set healthy personal boundaries is necessary for maintaining a positive self-concept, or self-image. It is our way of communicating to others that we have self-respect, self-worth, and will not allow others to define us. The result of this is that we are not only treated better by others but we have a strong self image as a foundation to move forward

Recently, an extremely competent professional came to see me because she couldn’t say no. Some days she worked until 3am in the morning and her body was telling her that she just couldn’t go on like that. Through understanding her personal boundaries in the workplace, she was able to deal with her fear of what upper management would think about her if she wasn’t working such long hours. With personal boundaries and good organisational skills, she learnt that she could get the job done and still enjoy life.

How Do We Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries?

Setting healthy personal boundaries in the workplace, involves taking care of yourself and having a strong sense of your rights, responsibilities, purpose and direction. The best time to set personal boundaries is before they’re being encroached upon.

Here are a few tips for cultivating effective personal boundaries in the workplace:

  1. Know that you have a right to personal boundaries. You not only have the right, but you must take responsibility for how you allow others to treat you. Your boundaries act as filters permitting what is acceptable in your life and what is not. If you don’t have boundaries that protect and define you, your sense of identity will be compromised. To avoid this situation, set clear and decisive limits so that others will respect them, then be willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them
  2. Recognize that other people’s needs and feelings are not more important than your own and yes, that does apply to your boss and your clients. I’ve seen people literally doing the work of three people, too afraid to say that they cannot sustain the pace. When we respect ourselves we can respect others and that will come out in our interactions. Yes, sometimes the cost can be more than we wanted to pay, but setting our own boundaries while respecting the rights of others usually helps set things up for a successful outcome
  3. Learn to say no. Many of us are people pleasers and often put ourselves at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone. We don’t want to be selfish, so we put our personal needs on the back burner and agree to do things that may not be beneficial to our well-being. Actually, a certain amount of “selfishness” is necessary for having healthy personal boundaries. You do not do anyone any favors, least of all yourself, by trying to please others at your own expense.  Healthy personal boundaries come from assertive people who are able to take care of both the needs of themselves and to a point, those around them.
  4. Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable in your workplace. Worrying over someone’s unacceptable behaviours in the workplace is one of the biggest drains on time, energy and productivity that there is. Let others know when they’ve crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in any way. If this doesn’t work then seek help from your manager, Employee Assistance Program or Professional Coach

What are the Benefits of Cultivating Healthy Personal Boundaries?

  • Improved self-confidence and a healthy self-concept
  •     Increased energy, stamina and productivity
  •     More in touch with reality
  •     Better able to communicate with others
  •     More fulfilling work and personal relationships
  •     More stability and control over our lives
  •     More self reliant
  •     Less emotionally needy
  •     Less likely to live stuck in the past or avoiding change
  •     Able to meet our own needs without negating the needs of others
  •     More successful in life as the more emotionally intelligent you are the more likely you are to succeed

Understanding and implementing your personal boundaries in the workplace has to be the easiest form of organizational skills available, as once this mindset becomes automatic, it requires no implementation time. In fact, you will save time, energy and pain, as you do not have to deal with all the fall out that comes from unhealthy personal boundaries in the workplace

To find out more about our course “Organisational Skills for Busy Professionals” simply email julie@sigmamindset.com  or phone us on 0430186415 for a flyer

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