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Managing your work boundaries for better balance, control and success

Boundaries come up regularly in coaching

  • What's ok, what's not?

  • What will you allow in and what will you keep out?

  • What will you accept and what won't you accept?

  • How will you establish your boundaries?

  • How will you maintain or defend them?

Boundaries can relate to all sorts of things but this blog is focused on your work/workload boundary.

It's one of a series of blogs providing ideas on how to get better at time management and be more productive.

When it comes to the work you do (and don't do), boundary management will help you to

  • Achieve a better work/life balance

  • Feel more in control at work, rather than overwhelmed or stressed

  • Be more productive and perform better in the areas that count, which generally means you'll be more successful at work.

Good work boundary management is a fundamental part of good time management.

So what's in this blog...

  • What happens if you DON'T manage your work boundary?

  • How to become a boundary manager

  • Set your boundary

  • Managing your boundary with ruthless prioritisation

  • Defending your boundary

  • How else you can keep within your boundary

What happens if you DON'T manage your work boundary?

Failing to establish and maintain a work boundary is likely to lead to...


Working probably way more than your contracted hours per day in an attempt to keep up with your workload.

This means that you'll be getting paid less per hour than your contracted rate.

Suddenly that great salary or rate you negotiated has been eroded!


Feeling like you have more to do than you can cope with leads to stress, which doesn't feel nice. But because of the way your body and mind react to it, you also become more emotional and stop being able to think straight...which adds to the problem.

You get caught in a vicious downward stress cycle that comes with all sorts of mental and behavioural issues that impact your performance and productivity and ultimately your success.

You may even end up off sick or burnt out as a result of stress, in which case none of the things that you've been trying to do will get done. Or they'll end up with your colleagues and increase their workload and stress. Making the problem even bigger.

Overpromising and under-delivering

If you have a leaky boundary and try and do too much, you're more likely to miss something or not do something very well. Particularly as you're likely to be stressed.

And that isn't generally a recipe for success.

Your home life will suffer

Even if you manage to spend time at home, if you're stressed or preoccupied with work through poor boundary management, you're not likely to be the person you want to be in your time off.

You owe it to yourself and the people around you to establish and maintain your work boundary

How to become a boundary manager