As the New Year begins, think of the opportunities that beckon, along with those projects calling for your immediate attention. Chances are, you’d like to venture into fresh territory with some of your time. But others may assume you have allocated that time to them. If so, are you ready to take back your time?
It’s not always easy. But when you approach this challenge with clarity and compassion, well prepared to negotiate, you may be amazed by how much time you can free up. Your relationships may grow, too.
Here are three proven guidelines. They can make the difference between setting time boundaries that endure and those that erode … or backfire!
1. Be your own clear-headed best friend.
Know what power is yours to claim, and what responsibility comes with it. When you inwardly affirm your right to make your own time choices, and fully commit to the work involved, it’s easier to communicate new boundaries with relaxed, open energy. So develop your enlightened assertiveness until it blossoms into balance and ease.
2. Carefully examine your prior commitments.
What loose ends really need to be tied up? Before setting boundaries, develop some options. How might you pitch in, and when will you step aside? Bring these insights to your negotiation. Volunteering support within clear parameters helps generate good will while providing a realistic exit plan.
3. A clear time boundary is a clean and compassionate one.
You may be tempted to take back your time from someone as an expression of anger or disappointment. But you’ll be happiest if you talk yourself past such urges. The ideal way to take back your time is to stay proactive, self-referenced, fair, and neutral in tone.
So when you feel frustrated or upset, slow down! Weed out any desire to punish or control others before you initiate any talks. Once you’re clear, you can communicate with “I” messages and really mean them. You will encounter less pushback if you don’t lose sight of the other person’s vantage point. And you will find it easier to remain both emotionally present and non-reactive.
Taking back your time is a process. Patience will reward you with power! When you follow these 3 guidelines to be clear, compassionate and open to negotiation, you will create a comfort zone that helps you keep on course, even in the face of resistance.
Before you know it, you will be well on your way to fulfilling the special promises this year holds for you!© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.