Posted January 13, 2021 in Podcast
Creating Containers and Boundaries for Work AND LIFE
Experiencing burnout is a common thing for everyone. It gives people a sense of unexplainable dread and fatigue, and going back to work feels almost impossible.
You can usually trace these feelings back to one simple cause: mismanagement. To be honest, some of you are not really burned out. You just tend to overlap your priorities and cross the line between work and life balance. When the balance between work and life is eschewed, you’re likely to feel exhausted as a result.
I once worked as a high school teacher, and now I’m an online coach and podcaster. I definitely understand how working around the clock can develop burnout and how burnout can cause stress and fatigue.
Since becoming a teacher and coach, I have understood how to balance my work and personal life through trial and error. This has allowed me to have financial stability while keeping my soul happy. Now, that I can work without getting fatigued, I can live a purposeful life that includes making a living and creating an impact.
Is this something you want to achieve? If so, keep reading and learn about how to create containers and boundaries for work and life!
Burnouts Are Inevitable but Manageable
Let’s face it the scary truth up-front: Burnouts are the reality of life. But what people really don’t understand is how to draw the line. We work hard to earn money but we neglect our personal life as a result. Other people focus on being comfortable, ending up neglecting their work and losing money. These two extremes are terrible for your financial and personal future.
If you haven’t checked out this popular episode of mine, listen to how my wife and I ended up in a financial crisis with almost $400,000 in debt and how we managed to get out of that situation within 38 months. Trust me, it wasn’t easy, but it worked! This debt was a result of me not taking my financial and personal future seriously. But today, I’m a new person.
The episode is not about bragging at all — it’s about managing your life which will allow you to improve your career, relationships, finances, and other aspects of your life, so you can live to your greatest potential
Friends, I understand that work is essential for us to achieve our financial goals and dream lifestyles, but is overworking worth putting our personal lives on hold? I know that financial independence requires a lot of hard work, late nights, and even sleepless nights, but there are ways to get from point A to point B without feeling overwhelmed and drained.
Along with my financial journey, I discovered two things: containers and boundaries. Having containers and boundaries in my schedule has helped me prevent having burnout even when I worked all day! It’s awesome to think about how productive I became by eliminating the negative and unnecessary emotions in my life.
Wanna know my secret? Here’s how I did it:
Containers are what confine your actions in whatever area you find yourself in. They give you a sense of what you are supposed to do. For example, a teacher’s container inside their classroom is to develop lesson plans and teach in the classrooms. That’s what we are paid to do.
Boundaries, on the other hand, are what limit you from doing certain things. They are, in a sense, the line in which you must never cross. Let’s use the same example: Teachers are prohibited to hang out with their students alone with doors closed. Teachers should never cross that boundary or else both will get into trouble.
Now, what do containers and boundaries have to do with achieving work-life balance?
You Must Be Dedicated at Work
When you are at your workplace, you must be ready for work. I love my job, and I always look forward to doing my work to the best of my ability. If I sit back at my desk, don’t take calls, or squander the day away playing games on my phone, then my coworkers probably aren’t going to be too thrilled. And plus, I won’t get any work done.
If you find yourself getting distracted at work, setting a strict and definite container in your workspace will help you avoid being a sloppy worker. When you’re in the office or at your desk, commit to working in that space. On the other hand, you have to know when to set boundaries as well. When the clock strikes 5:00 PM, or whatever time you prefer to end your day, stop working. You’re done! That is setting your boundaries.
Now, you may have experienced burnout after doing nothing at work. You may think, “Well, I was already tired, so that’s why I wasn’t productive,” but usually, this isn’t the case at all. You’re probably exhausted because your mind was thinking about so many things — other than work. We feel overwhelmed with other priorities that we end up unproductive at work, and we get behind as a result, leading to more burnout.
To prevent this, you must focus on work while you’re at work. When you set that container for yourself, you become extremely productive because your mind is only operating in one place: work.
What I do is I set time for early morning preparations, lunch outs, and working. I block my time throughout my day so that every task has a place. That way, I will never have to deal with distractions that will prevent me from doing my work properly.
Being too preoccupied can be a sign of early burnout. S, to prevent burnout from happening, take blocks of your time from the day dedicated for resting.
Also, try not to check your social media channels while working. When you do this, you’ll be reminded of how long you’ve been working, and your mind will crave more and more breaks. These simple things contribute to a slow build-up of burnout, so avoid them at all costs!
Don’t waste your work hours — doing so will not give you the relief you want and — not to mention — you’re probably not getting paid to do nothing.
Ensure Your Personal Life Is Distraction-Free
When you are at home with your family or friends, do your best to not let work enter your personal life. Yes, I know, this is really hard — especially if you work remotely. But the more you can separate your personal life from work, the better off you’ll be!
Some of you may be thinking, “When my work contacts me, I have no other choice but to respond.”
Here’s the thing: They only reach out to you even during weekends because you give them the pleasure of responding. You responded once, and now they are doing it habitually because they know that you’re “available.” Once they saw that you would compromise your personal life for them, they will do it intentionally until they want otherwise.
Setting up a healthy personal life starts with you. You must set a rigid container and maintain a boundary, just like you do for work. As for me, I make sure that I enjoy my personal life with my wife, Lois, and never let any distractions get in our way. When someone calls you from work when you should definitely be enjoying your personal life, you don’t have to respond.
If the call is urgent and repetitive, you can always tell them that you’ll look at the issue later. For example, if your boss asks you to look at some paperwork on a Sunday afternoon, you can respond with, “Thanks for letting me know, I’ll look into it first thing tomorrow morning.”
Unless it’s an emergency, don’t entertain work-related tasks when you’re off.
Breaks Are Essential
This is what most people often tend to miss out on. They think enjoying time at home is already a sufficient break. Guess what — it’s not.
You can create containers for rest as well! In your schedule, include short breaks such as “lunchtime” from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and “coffee breaks” from 3:00 to 3:30 PM. This way you get to rest your mind from having to deal with work-related stress all day.
Friends, don’t be afraid to take a break. Take a short vacation with someone you enjoy being with. If you want, you can do it alone! Do whatever rest looks like for you — whether it’s going out in nature, going to see a movie, or having a date night. But when you are on a break, make sure to have your containers and boundaries as well to keep work-related tasks from creeping in.
Creating containers for yourself will help you develop respect for your time, and people will see that as well. Eventually, your workplace will stop calling you after work and will understand your personal boundaries.
Take a break. You deserve it.
Work-Life Balance Isn’t Impossible
On the Reaching Beyond podcast, I talk a lot about work-life balance and work-life rhythm, and it’s easy to assume that these things are impossible to achieve. While there’s always going to be trial and error, this IS possible for you.
Start by taking down to create containers and boundaries for your work life and personal life. You can make a simple list, and then start time blocking your schedule to apply these structures to your life.
If you find this interesting and helpful, please share this with others who should hear this. If you have any comments or want to share about what’s worked for you feel free to message me on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Also, don’t forget to check out other episodes of Reaching Beyond on Apple Podcasts for more work-life related contents such as this. If you enjoyed this episode, you can tag me on Instagram, @kyle_depiesse, with a picture of you from your most recent break. I would love to interact with you!
Cheers to your success! I’m rooting for you.