Meetings that run long or unexpected requests from colleagues can prevent you from getting an important task done, make you leave work late, or even disrupt family time. How can you set and communicate boundaries so that you feel your time is respected? Start with your calendar. Block out times when you’re commuting, taking your kids to school, or when you’re getting focused work done, making sure you’re marked as unavailable. Next, ensure that you’re setting meetings for an appropriate amount of time, and stick to a focused agenda. If you’re not running the meeting, tell your colleagues that you have a hard stop. You also need to manage communications. Make your preferred way of communicating — for example, email versus Slack — clear with your colleagues, and respond on your schedule, when possible. Most messages can wait! Of course, you can’t always set meetings based on your needs or dictate how people communicate with you. But the goal is to find limits that are polite on the outside and make you feel calm on the inside.
This tip is adapted from “Protect Your Time at Work by Setting Better Boundaries,” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
Categories: Management and Career Tips