10 Ways to Establish Better Work Boundaries - Working in the Wild with Hub:868 - Issue No. 08

Your time matters and so does how you spend it. Have you been working to only work more, or working to enjoy a fulfilling personal life doing the things that bring you joy? With the way we’ve been working over the last two years, the lines between work and our personal lives have been blurred, erased, or entirely demolished. And if we’re being honest, it’s our personal lives that have sacrificed the most due to the pandemic. With the 10 tips below, we will show you how to take some time to reset and redefine our schedules so we can make up for personal time lost.

It is crucial to recalibrate right now, but don’t confuse this with being less productive. In fact, clearly defining work time from personal time will promote better productivity and efficiency during your time working.

Still doubtful? Try these ideas for one month and let us know what worked or didn’t work for you.


Schedule Dedicated Work Time and Stick to That Schedule

open planner on desk near computer with pen in hand

If you are working from home it is easy to squeeze in a little work during your personal time - checking your email with your morning coffee, taking a call after dinner when the west coast office is still open, or even staying up late to run those numbers one last time. It feels like you are always working. Delineate when your work tasks will be accomplished and stick to your schedule.




Don’t Bring Work Home with You

If you are still going into the office (or are finally going back), leave those files at work. We all want to perform our best and get everything done but we can stave off burnout if we keep work at the office.





Decline After-Hours Work Commitments

Sometimes an evening meeting is required, but sometimes that dinner with a client is completely unnecessary. Turn down anything that you don’t need to be doing after hours. Your time is valuable and maintaining a healthy work/life balance will benefit both you and the company in the long run.




Schedule Activities for “Quitting Time”

Maybe you schedule your trip to the gym right after work, or happy hour with a friend or colleague, or maybe you listen to your favorite music or podcast during your commute. Whatever you choose, having a scheduled commitment to look forward to might make your workday more enjoyable and help you transition from work-mode to personal-mode.




Stay Off Your Computer and Email

If you aren’t on-call or required (is it really in your job description?) to keep tabs on your work when at home, leave the computer and constant notifications at the office, in your bag, or wherever you won’t be tempted to check in. Schedule check-ins if you feel it is necessary during your personal time.





Put Your Work Phone Away

Just like your computer, your work-supplied phone can stay with the work and put away during your personal time. At the very least, consider turning off the notification sounds. Check on work when you've scheduled the time, rather than allowing the constant interruptions.




Find a Hobby You Enjoy


So, you can’t imagine what you would do if you weren’t always working? Work doesn’t have to be your hobby too, and it probably shouldn't be for that matter! Find something that you enjoy doing - cooking, art, hiking, gaming, writing, etc and start or rekindle a hobby. You can find free tutorials online for anything and everything - so learn something new, try something out, and find your personal-time passion.




Make Plans with Friends and Family

If you have plans scheduled with the people you love, it is a lot easier to avoid the emails, calls, and questions that can be dealt with when you get back to work. Human connection is crucial to our happiness. Fulfilling this part of our lives will make us better, more productive employees.





Notify Coworkers When You Are Not Available for Work

Speaking of those emails, calls, and questions - let your coworkers know that you won’t be taking them off-hours. It is much easier to not look at your work phone when it isn’t pinging with notifications. Set the boundary and make it known and you will have more peace in your personal time.




Create a Clearly Defined Workspace at Home

OR Join a Shared Workspace

If you are working and eating at your dining room table, it is easy to merge those schedules. Make a space in your home that is dedicated to work, even if that is just a corner of a room or a desk in a closet. Only do work when in that space, and if possible, don’t use it for your hobbies or personal activities. If this isn’t feasible for you, consider joining a coworking space where you can focus on work and reap the benefits of everything that comes with coworking.




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