Think about how productive you are those rare occasions when you are working alone, uninterrupted. Perhaps early in the morning, late at night, behind a closed office door or working from home with no interruptions, your phone switched off, and your e-mail in-tray empty, don’t you get a lot more done?
If you set effective boundaries, others won’t interrupt you when you don’t want to be interrupted, and they will learn not to make unreasonable demands of you.
Some common ways that people with weak boundaries around work lose energy and time include:
- Friends and co-workers stop by your desk or phone to gossip
- Family members call or visit at inopportune times
- Employees, bosses, co-workers, or clients hand over responsibilities to you
- New projects are piled onto an already overcrowded plate
As you go through your work week, pay attention to where you lose energy and where your focus is broken.
How can you set boundaries? Or who do you need to set boundaries with? Can you close your door for an hour to focus on a project? Could you get to work earlier or work from home? Don’t check your email every 5 minutes (the world will not end if an email sits for an hour.) Turn your phone over to voicemail.