Setting boundaries at work can be hard especially for those who work at nonprofits. Being passionate about your cause can make it seem like you have to say “yes” to every task that comes your way. Of course you want to help save the world!
But you can be a team player without giving everything to the job – and burning yourself out in the process.
We talk a lot about work/life balance here. Among other things, we’ve covered:
A big problem with maintaining a proper work/life balance is not establishing boundaries. Kivi has previously shared her tips on establishing boundaries telling you to:
Define the Boundary. Pay attention to what’s happening when you feel stressed out at work. Is it because someone added new responsibilities or had unrealistic expectations? What can you do to set up deadlines or other work processes to keep these in check?
Explain the Boundary. Kivi says: “You have to contrast the current way things are done with the new way embodied in your boundary. Try something like this: I know you/we typically (insert behavior that you are trying to change/boundary crossed), but I strongly prefer that you/we (insert desired behavior/boundary enforced), so that (insertthe desired result based on values of the organization).“
Enforce the Boundary. This may be the most difficult part. Margarita Tartakovsky in 7 Tips for Setting Boundaries at Work suggests you immediately call out an infraction and “prepare for violations” by imagining how you will react when someone does not respect your boundaries. Think about how you will react when someone calls you on a weekend or does not follow the work process you set up. This way you will be less likely to respond emotionally and cause more conflict.
Other tips shared by Margarita include:
- Communicate clearly what your boundaries are. Don’t assume people know not to call you on weekends or that they can’t bring you a project that is due tomorrow.
- Set boundaries at home as well. If you don’t want to be contacted after hours, then don’t check your email at home or check social media.
- Focus on the effect on the organization’s goals as opposed to making it personal. Instead of saying you can’t do something because you are too overwhelmed, explain that in order for you to do that something, you will have to drop two other important projects to make it happen.