This Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to acknowledge the pervasive effects of burnout on many working professionals. A Gallup survey reported that 63% of workers who experienced high levels of burnout had a higher likelihood of taking sick days and 13% felt less confident about their work performance.
Healthy work boundaries can help you reduce stress, prevent burnout, and keep you healthy and productive. However, it’s not always easy to set boundaries when there are obstacles in your way. Here are two common obstacles to creating workplace boundaries and how to overcome them.
Barrier 1: Heavy Workload With Quick Deadlines
When you have a heavy workload and looming deadlines, it’s easy to get caught in an endless cycle of answering just one more email at the end of the day or working overtime to finish a project. This mentality isn’t sustainable for your health in the long run, and boundaries can help you break this unbalanced cycle.
How To Set A Boundary:
Set practical expectations. Impending deadlines and high workloads are barriers to creating healthy work boundaries. It’s important to communicate with your supervisor, coworkers, or clients about what is feasible for you to get done in a certain time frame. Work on adjusting expectations when deadlines or workloads aren’t realistic and give others an explanation of why so that you don’t appear to be pushing back for no reason.
Example: “In the time allotted, I would be able to achieve Objective A, but I would need more time to complete Objective B with the quality it deserves.”
Barrier 2: Lack Support or Resources
Many people with high workloads may also suffer from a lack of support or resources. This can make setting work boundaries difficult because you either don’t have the resources to be efficient at your work or you don’t have the bandwidth for it. When you’re responsible for a massive workload, it’s easy for stress to get overwhelming and snowball into burnout.
How To Set A Boundary:
Ask for help. This advice may seem straightforward, but it’s not always the easiest to actually do. Communication is a crucial aspect of any job, and it’s necessary to communicate about your boundaries and needs. If you need to be able to delegate tasks to focus on priorities, ask about how you can get team support. Additionally, if you need resources to complete a project, let a supervisor know that it would help your productivity.
Example: “Is it possible to get team support completing Task C in order for me to prioritize Task D?”
When it comes to creating boundaries at work, effective communication is key. Oftentimes, if you’re asked to complete a high level of work and you do it without question, that becomes the standard of work that will be expected of you. This Mental Health Awareness Month, communicate about your needs and expectations to begin setting boundaries and prevent burnout in the long run.
Learn more about the effects of burnout and ways to set more boundaries with the infographic from Mint below.