Got friends that like to send a million questions in an effort to catch up over text? Perhaps you are working with some overbearing clients, coworkers or managers. In today's world of online communication, digital burnout is no joke. So let's cover 10 ways you can set energetic boundaries in work and life.
We all need energetic boundaries.
Particularly in the world of entrepreneurship, it can be hard to "turn off" our work. So what's a healthy way to protect your energy and prevent burnout?
Let's start with my most recent need for energetic boundaries with friends, family and clients... Studies show that moving and job loss are two of the top five most stressful life events. Not too long ago, I quit my 9-5, sold my condo, and moved across the country.
Without a doubt, it was energetically depleting.
I had a very limited bandwidth during and after the series of major life events. In some ways, running a business fuels me. While in other ways, it can be energetically exhausting.
It can be especially energetically draining to manage the inbox, addressing administrative issues, and managing difficult personalities on the daily.
Friends were constantly texting and emailing to seek marketing advice. Clients requested for services outside of my specialty.
The buyers of my condo also had a lot of unexpected last minute requests. It was enough to conclude that I won't be buying real estate any more!
And then my grandpa kept forgetting I was 6 hours ahead in time difference. So those 1am calls to check how things were going were getting to be too much.
In the midst of all that was going on, I learned a thing or two about setting energetic boundaries. Here are my top 10 ways to set energetic boundaries in work and life:
1. Be upfront.
If you are a people pleasure like me, it can be tough to be direct from the start. Saying "no" is actually doing both sides a favor when you set your boundaries from the start.
Be firm and friendly with your "no". Don't say "not right now" or "I don't have time these days but maybe another time" when you mean no.
No need to keep the other party hanging. Also, being upfront from the get-go helps to avoid a big explosion and misunderstanding later down the line.
2. Schedule send.
Whether you use Outlook, Gmail or any other email application, make use of the "Schedule Send" feature.
Clients can get very passionate about their business. Many times I get emails that are filled with stream of conscious questions and thoughts. It can be energetically exhausting to read and respond to.
Responding immediately often adds to the momentum and leads to an influx of follow-up questions and thoughts from the client.
When you do respond, pause before shooting off the email. Scheduling the email to send at a later time/date helps both sides to cool down and clear their own thoughts first. 3. Be kind.
Being kind in your words whether in-person or online can help put you in control of the energy exchange with the other person.
For instance, sometimes an initial reaction after receiving a nasty gram is just that. A reactive emotional response.
Whether you just received an unrealistic deadline request or condescending email, you may want to cool off first. Snapping back or being reactive is not going to get anyone anywhere.
4. Have a system.
Energetic boundaries is all about managing your time and resources, which make up your energy tank. Having a system in place helps save you a lot of time and resources.
For instance, I noticed I was getting the same questions asked from multiple clients. So now I have an onboarding questionnaire to understand on my clients marketing objectives from the get-go.
5. Have a FAQ page or "standard responses" in draft.
Similar to having a system in place, having a list of frequently asked questions is essential to save time and energy. When clients are able to refer to a FAQ page, it also saves their time and energy as well!
The same goes for saving standard responses in draft form. That can save a lot of emotional energy when it comes to friends and family asking you the same questions.
6. Set up auto-respond.
On a holiday? Not going to work on weekends? Set up an auto-responder so that others aren't expecting an immediate response. This also frees up your energy when you give yourself permission to enjoy your days off.
7. Give the benefit of the doubt.
Most times, people overstep boundaries and don't even know it. They aren't trying to be overbearing just for the sake of it.
So give them the benefit of the doubt. Doing so helps shift your energy from anger and frustration to compassion.
8. No mixed signals.
Boundaries don't have to be set in stone. They tend to be fluid. But the key is to convey your boundaries with clarity. No mixed signals.
For instance, don't respond to emails on a Sunday morning if you just told clients that you do not work on weekends.
If you have clear boundaries and aren't sticking to it, that is sending mixed signals. Either shift your boundaries or stick to it.
9. Respect their boundaries.
When we treat others how we want to be treated, that is reinforcing our own boundaries to clients.
This may work well with clients and friends but if you are side hustling, you also may face the challenges of setting boundaries with folks at the office. Here are 3 ways to energetically handle difficult people at work.
10. Repeat. Because people forget.
It can be frustrating when it was already difficult to muster up the courage to be upfront from the start. But don't be surprised if you find people forgetting your boundaries.
After all, they are your boundaries, not theirs. It's going to take some time and repetition to get the hang of things. So be prepared to repeat!
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