Time management tips help you chart out your time. But what do you do when confronted with a sudden onslaught of outside demands? What about the endless swirl of distractions that call to you, both online and off? This is when you will find that strong boundaries “put teeth” in your plans.
It is helpful to identify when you set boundaries, and how. Some people naturally establish a schedule in advance, but cave in to last-minute appeals. Others may ad lib their way through the day, yet speak up assertively to stay on track.
Is one better than the other? Not really. Your productivity and peace of mind will dramatically increase as you learn to establish boundaries in both calm and chaotic times. These abilities serve different functions, and their benefits create an upward spiral of positive reinforcement.
Boundaries in Chaotic Times
Establishing and maintaining your time boundaries is a challenge anytime. When you are under pressure, it is harder still. In stressful times, set time boundaries to maintain your energy, to find the space to breathe, and to reflect. The more you protect your plans from low-priority distractions, the more confidence you gain. Over time, you will find it easier to be assertive. Your reward will be heightened productivity as you manage whatever is on your plate.
Boundaries in Calm Times
And yet, during times of calm, time boundaries are equally important. It’s during these periods that the boundaries you establish, and the time choices you make, are proactively shaping your quality of life and helping you to embody your values, moment to moment.
By exploring boundaries in calm times, you build proactive strengths. This is the ideal time to create a hierarchy of priorities. In addition, give yourself time to reflect on your assertiveness skills. The less pressure you and others are under when navigating boundaries, the easier it is to negotiate. You may well discover over time that by raising issues early on, everyone suffers less from frayed nerves and mutual recriminations.
All successful boundaries create courage.
When you genuinely appreciate the full power of your time choices, you build grit. Why? You fully comprehend just how much responsibility for your life you carry in your own two hands.
As you assume that level of ownership, you generate deeper commitments, and life becomes infinitely more meaningful! You relinquish old resentments. Your moment-to-moment choices harmonize more fully with your values. This brings your essential focus to here, now. “Here” is where you will always live. “Now” is where all your power resides.
So think through your typical day, and envision where the logjams occur. Imagine yourself navigating the hurdles, and see how boundaries help you. Visualize both chaotic and calm settings to learn how you relate in both circumstances. Then use any and all opportunities to establish boundaries to withstand distractions. What do you learn?
You are defined by the choices you make over time. You are, on some level, your choices. Therefore, think of the boundaries you set as building blocks to create a more distinct self. That is a gift that will enrich your life all the time.
So how can you use boundaries to make the most of your time?© Copyright 2009 Paula Eder, Ph.D.