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In this guest article, writer Amy Jones shares how setting boundaries can help you to improve productivity. Also, you’ll learn how to establish healthy boundaries for more productivity.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Setting boundaries is something we all strive to do. Whether we feel burnt out from too much social interaction, or we simply feel an invasion of privacy from those we are supposed to love, not setting boundaries can impact our well-being, and as a result our productivity.

As we settle into a new year, many people strive to maintain their new habits and become a better version of themselves. The truth is, nothing will change for 80% of individuals who set out their new goals, simply because they could not stick to the new habit and did not set new boundaries. 

Boundaries are a crucial part of personal well-being, physically and emotionally. When people overstep these borders without respecting the individual’s wants, things can get out of hand. This may result in extremities such as this person taking up a significant amount of time, to even emotional manipulation. Becoming a better and more productive version of yourself involves clearly stating these boundaries in social settings to prevent people from thinking they can overstep these principles.

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of boundaries, how to determine yours, and how they have a direct correlation with your productivity levels. 

The importance of boundaries

Boundaries are a part of your identity. Your ability to make your boundaries clear to those around you will determine how much or little other people may take advantage of you. For example, the commonly used term “people pleaser” is often referenced when an individual will go out of the way for another, even at the detriment of their boundary and peace of mind. Whilst being a people pleaser is not a bad thing, letting other people take advantage of your kindness and lack of boundaries can harm your well-being, in addition to your productivity. Harnessing your energy for your own benefit will surge your productivity, more than what it might be doing for others. To some, boundaries might be selfish. However, they should be viewed as a form of protection against others who wish to invade your emotional and physical space, to put their needs above yours.

Different types of boundaries 

Some different types of boundaries can be overstepped. For example:

Physical boundaries – This is the boundary that relates to your physical body. For example, if you do not like hugging strangers, you might feel as though your physical boundaries are overlapped. 

Emotional boundaries – When this boundary is crossed, it can be even more memorable than physical. For example, if someone is pressuring you to help them with a task you do not believe in, this may overstep your emotional boundary. 

Time boundary – If you must see family outside of work and your workplace asks you to stay later at work instead, this can overstep your time boundary. 

Intellectual boundary – When people have opposing opinions to your own, they might push you into believing they’re prescriptive, ultimately overstepping your time boundary. 

How boundaries and productivity correlate

Now you have an understanding of the various types of boundaries that can be pushed, you might be wondering how they relate to productivity. The truth is, that many of us give away our time, emotion, and physical boundaries for the benefit of others, while at the cost of our progression. You might be trying to extend your knowledge on a certain topic such as computer science, yet the people around you might be voicing their unwanted opinions about the subject, placing doubt into your mind. This would inherently implant the feeling of wanting to give up and finding a different, and more welcomed field to study. 

As much as people hate to admit it, we care what others think. The people whom we wish to please the most are often those who exceed our line of boundaries the most. From your job to your parents to the unsupportive friends you are trying to connect with, they can prevent your own [progression by placing doubt and limiting self-belief in your mind.

How To Set Boundaries

Now you understand the importance of boundary setting, determining which ones you should have in place for your happiness and productivity is key. 

Determine what is important to you

First things first you need to establish what is important to you. Expecting others to respect you when you are not even sure what you want for yourself is unrealistic. If you want to focus on your fitness and being healthier, you will set a boundary of not accepting food from others. Get your priorities straight and try not to waver from them if they have a direct correlation with your productivity levels. 

Establish a strict schedule 

One of the most frequent boundaries that people take advantage of is time. If you have set time scheduled into your day for work tasks, you should honour this. If your colleagues expect you to help with additional tasks that will interrupt this time, you need to make it clear that you will help when you can spare the time. Dropping all of your important tasks for the benefit of others will leave you behind on work, and overloaded with tasks. From your productivity to your mental health, you will witness the negative impact not setting boundaries can have on your life. 

Communicate with those around you

When you are setting boundaries that will affect those who have been overstepping them, it is important to communicate what you are doing and why. Being honest about how you feel and the change you are trying to make will only give your peers a better understanding as to why your behaviour may have changed to what they once knew. For example, if you once spent your weekends drinking with friends and now you wish to stay in and work by yourself, your peers might overstep this boundary by pressuring you to drink. Let them know what your goals are, and be sure to explain that the change is for the benefit of yourself, as opposed to the negative change they may perceive. Remember, someone who truly wishes to see you do well will never try to discourage you from your goals and productivity.

Bottom line

Overall, setting boundaries to improve your productivity is only going to have a positive impact on your mental health and feeling of self fulfilment, which will ultimately correlate with productivity increases. Whether your goal is to be more productive in the gym and feel confident in your bikini set in the summer, or you want to organise your workload to reach deadlines, maintaining boundaries is crucial if you wish to prevent others from getting in the way of you achieving your goals.

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