When something is overwhelming, like, let’s say, your job as a nonprofit communicator, it’s very hard to feel like you are getting anything done or making any progress at all, no matter how dedicated you are.
We get overwhelmed, and motivation dissolves, in many aspects of our lives.
For example, this summer, my husband has been pleasantly surprised by just how much work I am doing in the garden. I’ve always liked gardening, but my motivation to keep everything alive and growing is usually long gone by now because of the unceasing Carolina heat and weeds.
But this year is different, for one reason: Boundaries.
This spring, I spent several weekends building firm borders around several of the beds in the garden, and constructing some new ones, all with very clear boundaries.
I have drawn a very clear line between the bermuda grass and the beds, and now I can focus my energy within the bed, rather than always trying to define and defend the border and figuring out what’s in and what’s out. I know what’s in and what’s out, and I focus on the “in” and ignore the “out.”
Creating Boundaries at Work
What’s the equivalent of plastic edging, stone walls, and pebble paths at work?
Think about what governs your time and the tools that you use to manage it.
Are you calendar driven? To-do list driven? Some combination, or something else? How can you use the tools you already use every day to create boundaries?
Can you block off time on your calendar that becomes sacred for working on priorities?
Can you start each morning (or finish the day before) with setting your top three to-do for the day?
Can you give yourself some sort of visual cue — something on the wall, or your desk, or your screen saver, that reminds you what is most important?
Can you agree that you will NOT do something and get it off the to-do list (like not caring one bit about the quality of the grass in between and around all those garden beds)?
Boundaries can help you focus, provide some direction, and generally make you more productive and more happy.
How do you, or how might you, define and defend the border of your job, and figure out what’s in and what’s out on your “most important” list? Share in the comments!