How Boundaries Help You Balance Your Life, Use Your Time Better, and Get More Energy
We have this image of leadership that a leader never sleeps, is tireless, and constantly working, but this is false. Like the Napoleonic quote that says fools sleep 8 hours, there is no truth behind this myth of the leader who never stops. A leader without boundaries is not sustainable. The most effective leaders have clear boundaries that help them balance work, use their time better, have better relationships, and find more energy.
What are ways strong leaders set limits?
Set limits to your working hours.
My best decision was to set working hours and one day a week when I didn't work. I found I worked much more efficiently, was less resentful of my work, and had more energy and enthusiasm.
Burning the candle at both ends does not help us get more done. You will think more clearly if you limit your work hours. Most importantly, 'burning the candle at both ends' means the candle will go out. If you want to sustain your leadership, you want to develop systems you can maintain for the long haul.
Delegate: Set limits to which tasks you take on
Set boundaries on which tasks are worth your time. Many leaders try to do it all, but that is the quick road to burnout. Even as a solopreneur, I can delegate tasks. For example, I can choose automation tools or hire out for work I don't need to do.
As a mother and wife who works from a home office, I am often tempted to do all the cleaning, cooking, managing children's schedules, taking care of the dog, AND running my business. Still, each of these is a demand on my time that takes away from my focus on leadership coaching, which is where my expertise lies. I can enlist the family to help around the house and hire services to help my business operate. That then allows me more time to focus on what I do best (and that no one else can do).
If you have people reporting to you, give them more responsibilities. One of the surefire ways to drive your people away and get them disengaged is to micro-manage them. So practice delegating and empowering your people. They may not always do things the exact way you want, but that isn't always bad; it is an opportunity for growth that people crave.
Learn to say no: set limits to your priorities
One of the primary roles of a leader is to provide a vision for the organization. That vision means aligning projects you take on with that vision. It does not mean taking on every opportunity that comes your way. Consider your values and your purpose as an individual and an organization. Only accept projects that align with your vision.
Time blocking: set limits to your time
In addition to setting limits to your overall work time, consider how you spend your work time. Set some protected time in your schedule. For example, I have CEO hours in my weekly schedule, where I focus on my business priorities and align my business activities with my goals. I may have a million other to-dos on my list, but I can focus and work more effectively by protecting this time.
Why do community leaders need boundaries?
If you're a leader in your community, having good boundaries is important for staying healthy and happy. Boundaries help us establish and maintain healthy relationships with ourselves and others. When we have clear boundaries, we can better communicate our needs and limits, reducing stress and increasing our sense of control and autonomy. Without boundaries, we can feel overwhelmed, resentful, and unsupported, leading to emotional and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Boundaries also help us prioritize our well-being and prevent us from taking on too much, which can lead to burnout and exhaustion. In short, having strong and healthy boundaries is essential to creating sustainable leadership habits.
Want help in setting boundaries?
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