Finding time to take a new step forward doesn’t have to mean two steps backward, as the saying goes. No indeed … but whenever you do something new, any number of interactions may shift, subtly or dramatically, in response. A step forward by you can transform how you move through your moments … and your day. And to borrow another adage (one that I prefer in this context), “When the steps change, so does the dance.”
I just love the proactivity and creativity of thinking about it this way! When you’re setting time boundaries to find more time, you’re really taking positive control when you factor in time to establish a new dance … gracefully. Fewer toes will get stepped on – and your progress will be that much smoother!
Setting a new time boundary will often initiate a chain reaction. That’s because change, whether large or small, disrupts the invisible network of understandings that have evolved over time. Any number of “deals”, real or imagined, may underlie your old arrangements. Most are not articulated and many may not even be consciously understood.
So, as you initiate changes, be prepared for others to renegotiate their end of things, too. Accepting this in advance means you won’t be surprised by it. It’ll be a new step in the dance!
Do your best to not personalize their choices, and to know that this dance is fluid and evolving. The steps are not set in stone; and all that you have control over is your end of it. The more practical and cooperative you are, the better your chances for a successful transition to a new dance.
Before you set new boundaries, prepare for discussions to work out details. Sort out where you want to actively sponsor certain ideas, and where others can exercise initiative. Here are some good questions to ask yourself as you get started:
- In what areas can you move ahead independently?
- What issues require consensus?
- What sort of consensus and cooperation will be needed?
- What falls within your area of responsibility?
- What outcomes can you let go of?
- Where are you willing to compromise?
- What is non-negotiable?
Many win/win options may exist! So consider doing some extensive brainstorming before setting boundaries that change the steps in your dances significantly. Then you’ll be well prepared to craft satisfying resolutions.
How do you set time boundaries in your life now? How has this impacted the dance of your days?
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.