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Set Boundaries – Set Yourself Up For Success

Updated: Jun 11

A field of fallen leaves in autumn with a long white fence running the length of the field separating it from large trees.

Setting boundaries can be one of the most important and useful skills to learn in order to be successful at work.

When it comes to the workplace, boundaries help us protect our mental health and personal time, keep in control of our lives, and prevent stress from becoming unmanageable.

Especially now that so many people work from home on a full or part-time basis, the line between work and home is easy to blur. However, this can easily lead to burnout and a myriad of related challenges. Don’t worry; today, we’re here to help with some tips and methods for setting boundaries and sticking to them to help you be more satisfied in your professional life.

Good Work Ethic:

Work ethic is a trait that is widely lauded and sought after in the workplace. After all, who doesn’t want an employee, coworker, or boss who is motivated and works hard?

However, for the highly motivated, it is important to value yourself as a human being too.

Working yourself to the bone will only make it harder to maintain the high performance you’re striving for, leading to more stress, and eventually diminishing or destroying your motivation. It’s a downward spiral from there, and one best avoided. Taking personal time to reduce stress and avoid burnout isn’t a sign of laziness, it’s an emotionally intelligent strategy to maintain and improve your performance in the long run. Remember that you have value beyond what you achieve at work.


Especially for those who struggle to set boundaries, some people have a tendency to be very apologetic when approaching the subject. As stated by, being apologetic for a request not only makes our boundaries more unclear, it sets us up for failure by making it easier for others to say no. By contrast, clear, effective communication about boundaries helps clarify the message and presents a stronger argument, making it clear that what you’re saying is important. Setting reasonable boundaries isn’t rude, so there’s nothing to apologize for! That in mind, remember that all relationships require give and take.

While you ought to have some non-negotiables, compromise is also important.

Identify what things are most important, which ones can be flexible, and then work from there.


Boundaries are all about respect, and this respect goes both ways.

Outside of simply being professional and polite when setting boundaries, consider what you are asking of other people.

Does the boundary you are contemplating represent a reasonable request for the people around you? Most of the time, this will not be a problem, but in the event that a boundary isn’t practical or can’t be supported by the work environment, an alternate solution should be found. At the end of the day, if your job and your mental health absolutely cannot coexist, bigger changes might need to be made. That said, most of the time there are other boundaries, strategies, and smaller changes we can make to improve our quality of life at work.

Other Tricks:

The most important thing to remember when it comes to boundaries is saying no. While you obviously can’t simply turn down everything sent your way, strategically refusing extra work, overtime, or responsibility when you don’t have the bandwidth to support it is a very powerful tool. Work with your manager to make sure your workload is manageable and allows you to use your skills and abilities most effectively. Another tip is to remember that for those of us who accrue vacation time, use it! You’re given it for a reason and using your well-earned time off can really help you recharge and refocus.

Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash


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