Rupert Boundariesby Kimberly Rupert, owner of TimeHelperz

Do you feel like you are always being taken advantage of from others? Do you feel like you do not have time to get anything done for yourself?  Then you may not have good boundaries in your personal and professional life.

While I was researching the topic, I didn’t realize there were several different types of boundaries. According to TherapistAid, there are the following types of boundaries.

  • Physical boundaries refer to personal space and physical touch.
  • Intellectual boundaries refer to thoughts and ideas.
  • Emotional boundaries refer to a person’s feelings.
  • Sexual boundaries refer to the emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of sexuality.
  • Material boundaries refer to money and possessions.
  • Time boundaries refer to how a person uses their time.

In this blog, we are going to discuss Time Boundaries.  I learned very early in my business I had to set boundaries otherwise I was having clients call me at all hours of the day and I was returning emails at all hours of the night.  I finally had it and I set up sound boundaries.  Do I break them every now I then, sure, but for the most part I stick to them?

Personally, I believe before you can set boundaries you have to know what you value most.  Currently, in my life, my family is more valuable than my business.  (Oh my goodness, a business owner says her family is more important).  Things may change in 10 years when our son is at college.  Sometimes, I have to say No to something because I choose to be with my family or until a scientist learns how to clone me I can’t be in 2 places at once.  (I’m not sure my husband could handle 2 of me. Sometimes, I can be a little OCD).

For example, tonight I had to say No to TOP’s Networking at the Rail and an event for a friend in Westport.  I have to wait till my husband gets home to pick up our son to take to baseball practice.  By the time he gets home and the long trek to The Brass Rail, I would have been there for all of 30 minutes.  This doesn’t seem like a good use of my time, especially, when I still needed to write this blog.

So, back to boundaries! Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and, really, a healthy life. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that many of us don’t learn, according to psychologist and Coach Dana Gionta, Ph.D.   Below, are some of her ways, I’ve added my thoughts on each of the topics.

Name your limits.

You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. Don’t make yourself stressed!

Be direct.

Tell your clients when you are available to work. My hours are set up in my contract and I also tell them before we start working together.  I may work on the weekend or in the evening after my son goes to bed, but I don’t respond to emails.  There was one weekend, I was sending invoices on a Saturday morning and a client texted me and asked if I could take dictation. I said no, that I was heading out the door shortly.   So, now I no longer send out invoices on a weekend.

Give yourself permission.

Give yourself permission to say “NO”!  Remember your No is someone else’s “YES.”  If you are easily talked into doing something, say this “Give me 24 hours to look at my calendar and see if I can help you.  If I can, you will hear from me, if I can’t you will not.”  This way, they will have a harder time talking you into something if you don’t respond to them.

Do not say sorry.

If you do, you are giving them an in and they will try to talk you into doing something.  This is hard for women, I used to do it all the time. STOP IT!

Make self-care a priority.

Schedule out time for yourself to accomplish tasks you need to for your business and yourself. I have started scheduling out time every 3 weeks to get my nails done and my hair is every 6-8 weeks.  This is called my ME time.  I also started scheduling out the morning of the first work day of the month.  They used to be tasks, but now they are appointments.  I send invoices, pay subcontractors, update website/receipt/mileage/etc.  Do NOT feel bad for taking this time for yourself.  Your family and business will NOT suffer!  They will actually thrive because you are taking care of yourself and not drowning.

Seek support.

Ask for help from your significant other and your kids.  If you can get your 4 legged kid to help – more power to you!  I finally had a breakdown one Saturday and I went to my husband and said, it is time to get a cleaning lady.  I felt horrible because I couldn’t keep up.  His response, I’ve been waiting for you to say you need one.  SERIOUSLY!!!  It is ok to ask for help with the house, the yard, meals, and your business.  It does not mean you are weak because you ask for help.  (Yes, I still need to remind myself of this every once in a while.)  Yes, I still try to be superwoman to everyone.  I do have a cleaning lady and a neighborhood kid who takes care of our lawn.  Since my business continues to grow, I have 5 people who work for me in various capacities.  Oh, was it good to ask for help, but SCARY.

Be assertive.

Not too assertive. You can find gentle ways to let people know your boundaries.  I simply do not answer an email if it is after 5 or on the weekends.  Yes, I do break this one periodically.  Especially, if I’ve had too much coffee (yes, I’m one of those people who doesn’t drink it on a regular basis and when I do – Watch Out).

Start small.

With any new change in your life, you have to start small. This way you feel comfortable and your circle of family, friends, and business associates isn’t too put off by your life change.

I hope this helps you add some boundaries to your personal and professional life.  Feel free to ask me any questions about my boundaries.  

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