Finding Time when you need it often boils down to a matter of saying “No” to one thing in order to say “Yes” to another.
These choices don’t necessarily involve other people. Maybe you are contemplating an internal time boundary – one where you need to let go of an old pastime so that you can create space in your life for a new interest or project. Or maybe it’s an external boundary and you find that you are dreading saying that “No” to others whose cooperation you’d really like.
Either way, here’s a tip that I find very helpful:
Successful time boundaries = Specific time boundaries.
Being as specific as possible about the boundary helps because it provides a frame for the change that you are initiating. Change can be a challenge – and it’s a lot easier to navigate new territory when the parameters are clearly defined.
For example, let’s say you are working on creating your Power Sanctuary. This is a change for you and, perhaps, for the people in your circle. Knowing exactly when your private time starts and when you’ll be available again helps define the size and shape of the change.
A clear time boundary relieves anxiety about the unknown for others … and maybe for you as well. In addition, knowing that you have set aside uninterrupted time will help you feel more relaxed and focused in the moment. So when you are planning to take time for yourself (or for anything that requires a time boundary), spell out the time frame you have in mind.
Setting clear-cut time boundaries sends a number of important messages. And, again, these are messages that may be as important for you to hear and assimilate as for others in your life!
* It shows you’ve given this step plenty of thought.
* It indicates that you intend to follow through.
* It demonstrates that you know when your time choices affect others.
* Clear boundaries enable you to follow through in a way that’s easy to see. When you follow through consistently, you are showing respect, strengthening trust, and nurturing good will.
Finally, it pays to do some homework before setting a time boundary. If you’re embarking on a new enterprise, see how realistically you can estimate the time involved.
So, if you’re staring a project, figure out how much time you will need to plan, get supplies, solve problems, and complete the work to your satisfaction. When estimating the time, be generous with yourself, and remember the Times Two Rule! It’s so much more satisfying to finish ahead of schedule than it is to run late and risk inconveniencing others. – undermining that trust and good will you had been building!
Finally – what’s the greatest thing about setting specific (and successful) time boundaries? Each time you practice this skill, you’ll feel encouraged to exercise still more positive power over your time. As you build your boundary-setting skills you’ll enjoy an upward spiral of success!
Do you find it challenging to set and maintain time boundaries? Why not give it a try this week? Start with something small and very specific.
Related: Finding Time Boundary Template© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.