Often when people think of boundaries the first thing that may come to mind are boundaries in relationships, or the boundaries they see in physical spaces, like property lines. All types of boundaries play a role in creating a healthy balanced life. Having boundaries around time is something that is also important to address and can make a huge difference in helping you live closer to your intentions and to the lifestyle you want.
Boundaries And Your Time
Our modern society had shifted and given us many options, everything from types of products to choose from to endless activities and hobbies we can participate in. With so many modern conveniences and possibilities it can be hard to say no. Coming from a culture steeped in being polite and proper, saying no can be even harder, especially with there is an unspoken norm that it is being rude or inconsiderate. Often people feel guilty saying no or feel obligated to say yes to social gatherings, particularly ones with close family and friends or even work events.
When you are clear with you intentions and values and make it a priority to follow through with what you are willing to accept and not accept, the way you spend your time becomes a reflection of those values. This can be challenging, especially when you are intertwined with family, work, and community commitments.
It’s important to stay connected to the people in your life, however, at the same time it’s very important to take care of yourself and your wellbeing. This means spending quality time with others doing things that make a difference to you and your community. Otherwise you will be spreading yourself thin and in the long run is not sustainable or good for your health and wellbeing. Staying close to your intentions and values means choosing to spend your time on things that nourish you rather than drain you.
Some Examples of Poor Boundaries Around Time Are:
Not making time to self care
Saying yes to everyone and helping them but not yourself
Spending an extended amount of time on something in order to avoid doing more important tasks
Getting caught in a social media or binge watching TV series
Why It Matters
1. Affects your wellbeing
When you make the time to take care of yourself, ie. eating well and getting to bed at a reasonable time, it helps reduce stress and increases your strength, resiliency and ability to adapt. By creating healthy boundaries around time you are better able to be mindful and choose activities that energize you rather than drain you, which in the long run has a positive affect on your ability to be there for both yourself and others.
Be clear with how you spend your time and what you are willing to do and not do. As a result, you waste less time procrastinating and have more time to do the things that you love. By staying focused on what’s important means that you are less stressed. You are better able to manage your tasks and feel more confident in yourself.
Being mindful and intentional about how you are spending time helps you create balance in all areas of your life. This way things like work or other commitments don’t take over your life and take away your ability to care for yourself and others.
How You Can Create Healthy Boundaries in Your Spaces
It’s really important that you own your time and not blame others for your chaotic schedule or time constraints. When you take your life in your own hands, it is very empowering and will allow you to make the most impact in changing what’s not helpful. Going through a process that allows you to connect with your inner purpose and intentions, helps ground your decisions and gives you a reference point when you feel yourself sliding from the boundaries you created.
Step 1 – Intention Setting
Write down your core values and life intentions
Next write down what things are most important to you and what it looks like (particularly things that nourish and energize you) Ie. being healthy – exercising 3 times a week, eating whole foods, little sugar OR making time for learning and reading each day.
Step 2 – Minimize
Map out all of your tasks and things you do in a week. Remember to be honest and if it helps, look at your day planner or calendar to get a more accurate sense of how you are spending your time. Be sure to include things like getting ready, socializing, technology use etc.
You can do a more detailed inventory of all the things you do in an excel sheet and group tasks by category, ie. admin, errands, chores, work, social etc.
Now assess what can stay and what can go. Some things can be put on hold and integrated at a later date once you’ve tackled any outstanding items.
Step 3 – Organize + Design
Once you’ve decided what things you’re going to focus on, it’s time to prioritize your needs based on what’s most important to you
Plug tasks and projects into a weekly schedule and revisit it each week to make any necessary changes.
Creating a morning and evening routine is also key to establishing balance, self care and is great for reconnecting to yourself so that you avoid running around in panic mode.
Step 4 – Sustain
Make time at least once a week to reflect + revisit the boundaries you established and acknowledge where you have changed as well as areas that still need work
Create a habit chart to help you document the new habits you are changing. This can be a simple table where you check new habits each day that you integrated into your daily routine. This allows you to see your progress as well as keeping you accountable.
Other things to Consider:
Remember that you don’t have to do everything perfectly right away or ever. Creating a weekly schedule, plus morning and evening routine is a framework and being flexible within that framework is important.
Know when to pick and choose. Be able to make changes based on unexpected life events, by choosing the most important things to do and letting go of items that can wait and don’t affect your wellbeing.
Be mindful of not getting caught up in binge watching programs or get stuck on social media. This habit wastes a significant amount of time and most likely not part of your life intentions (Stay tuned for December’s blog on Digital Distractions)