Does your job exhaust you?

Do you feel like you need to respond to your colleagues as soon as you receive a message from them, even after you’ve ended your workday?

Do you say ‘yes’ to tasks you don’t have the capacity for? Or agree to take on work outside of your job description?

Many of you have told me you struggle with work boundaries. In this episode, I am sharing tips and tools you can use to make your job work for you with more ease and less frustration.

Prefer the audio? Listen here.

Common Boundary Issues At Work

If you find it difficult to assert yourself at work, you are not alone. Many of you wrote in to tell me…

  • You have no work/life balance
  • You are over capacity because you don’t feel comfortable saying “no”
  • You spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks because you are a perfectionist
  • You take on other people’s tasks and feel underappreciated
  • You are afraid of failure
  • You don’t feel like you can advocate for your needs
  • You check your email outside of work hours
  • You work for a workaholic and feel like the same is expected of you

Do any of these resonate with you? Then you are in the right place.

Time Management

A lot of these concerns come down to time management.

Whether you physically go to work or work from home, it is on you to manage your time well.

You can begin by having a schedule. Start your day with a morning routine separate from work (it does not need to be elaborate). For your workday, have a start and end time along with breaks for food and movement.

These are the basics you need to avoid becoming your own worst enemy with overworking.

Self-Confidence At Work

Another critical part of feeling exhausted at work comes from our self-confidence.

Sometimes you may understandably feel insecure about asserting yourself at work if you are new in the industry or workplace.

Other times, you may feel you lack skills. To build confidence, take courses, learn on your own outside of work, or see if your workplace offers mentorships.

You may also lack confidence when you aren’t certain about your career trajectory. To get an idea of where you want to go, look at people doing what you’d like to do and model your career after theirs.

(For more tips to build self-confidence, check out this blog.)

Communication At Work

How do you speak up? Do you speak up?

How can you be more honest in an appropriate way?

I know many of you are dealing with toxic or negative colleagues who talk badly about others in the work environment.

If you want to pull yourself out of this drama triangle, you might say: “Hey, I am on a negativity cleanse. No gossiping for me.” Or use humor: “Please tell me we have something better to talk about than Bob in accounting!

These scripts give you an out without hostility or judgment.

What Do You Want At Work?

Let’s move into how to make changes when you are unhappy with your work environment.

To get an idea of what needs to change, the first step is to build awareness around what you want.

Take a moment to dial into your preferences, desires, limits, and deal breakers when it comes to your work.

How do you feel about your current tasks and projects? What do you not want to do? What are your non-negotiables when it comes to how you interact with others?

Can you opt out of these things given your job title and function?

Inside the guide (download it here) you will find questions to gain more clarity around what you want more of or less of at work. This will help you figure out where you need to begin setting boundaries.

Unspoken Rules At Work

Just like in any system, there are silent agreements in the workplace. These are things no one has expressed in words, but everyone kind of knows that’s the way it is. (Like how some corporations ‘expect’ you to work longer than you are scheduled for.)

These unspoken agreements often do not work for us, but because they are silent, they can be hard to identify. When we become aware of them, we can change them.

Silent agreements typically involve making assumptions about others and what they expect or want. Can you think of a time when this happened in your workplace?

Instead of unspoken agreements, we want clean agreements. They make professional interactions clear, which helps us avoid unhelpful assumptions and resentment.

If you are a business owner, clean agreements also give new employees or contractors clear expectations to work with. An inability to meet these expectations might signal they are not a good fit for the job and can make it easier to get on the same page about improvements or dismissal.

Stating Your Preferences At Work

Let’s say you have a coworker who is chatty in the morning, which is when you are most productive.

Instead of grinning and bearing it, or venting to another coworker about it later, you can say, “Hey, can I make a simple request we pick this up after 10 AM? I am most productive in the morning and I’d like to complete this task. I will ping you when I am done.”

Being raised with disordered boundaries often makes us feel like we need to deal with whatever behavior comes our way. But you can learn how to assert yourself with ease, grace, kindness, and, when appropriate, humor.

When you assert yourself, how you feel about yourself shifts, even when the other person is not able to get on board with your request.

Your healing and your self-confidence come from speaking up, sharing your preferences, or making simple requests. The more you do it, the more natural it feels.

Putting It All Together

Raising awareness about your preferences – whether you can change things in your work situation or not – is valuable information to know about yourself.

I have two exercises to help you: a workplace resentment inventory and a work/business inventory. The first will deepen your understanding of your workplace preferences, and the latter will help you gain clarity on how you work best.

After completing these inventories, you will create a proactive boundary plan for your professional life. This will help you anticipate workplace problems and avoid them in the future.

You will find all three of these exercises inside the guide, which you can download here.

I hope this episode added value to your life. Let me know your thoughts over on Instagram (@terricole) or in the comments. How are your workplace boundaries? What causes you the most stress or resentment at work? Where can you set boundaries to give yourself more peace and ease?

I hope you have the most amazing week and as always, take care of you.

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