Why You Must Set Professional & Personal Boundaries

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Boundaries can be physical, emotional and even digital. They mark where one thing begins and another ends. As a CEO, executive, leader [or any business person] it is imperative to set strict boundaries between your professional and personal lives. Creating these boundaries will help you take the necessary steps  towards achieving work-life integration. Work-life integration can cultivate synergies among all aspects of life: work, family, friends, community, and personal well-being.


There is a notion that work-life integration comes naturally for those at the top [CEO's, executives, and managers]. However, this could not be further from the truth. As business leaders, you are more likely to struggle with achieving work-life integration. So ,why is it so important to set strict boundaries? How can you set strict boundaries to achieve work-life integration?  


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For Your Health


CEO Today provides insight into why this is a challenge, noting that business leaders are burdened with an immense workload, as well as the pressures of setting an example. Add to that the reluctance to relinquish control and delegate tasks, and the result is often an inability to switch off work. However, failure to set strict boundaries comes at a considerable cost.


The consequences can be grave, especially when you spend most of your day at a desk. A Pain-Free Working article on prolonged sitting at work details how sitting upwards of 7 hours per day can result in a shorter lifespan. Extending time sitting can have a negative health impact, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as susceptibility to back pain, poor posture, and creaky knees.


If this is not enough reason for you to delineate between your professional and personal lives, did you know working too may also affect those under your leadership? A 2019 study about the negative impact of chronic overworking explains that spending more time at work often leads to numerous health problems including:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Weight issues
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • Cerebro-cardiovascular conditions
  • Irritability
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Depression

These conditions will produce a top-down effect, starting with poor performance on your part, which will inevitably flow down to your team [even if it they are not overworking].


For Your Team 


Letting your professional life control your days can transform you from a good executive into a unreliable, difficult-to-deal-with leader. This can lower your team's morale, and prevent you from developing effective well-being strategies that will boost employee happiness. It will be challenging to elicit staff to join in on a work-life integration initiative if they see you struggling with it. You will likely find it difficult to focus on pertinent issues or even summon the creativity necessary to create, plan or develop a well-being program [or any other project].


Set Strict Boundaries


Fortunately, all this is avoidable, and can be achieved by setting strict boundaries such as

  • Creating work hours and sticking to them
  • Disconnect from devices after hours
  • Setting "No Work" breaks

In doing so, you can switch off from work and get some much-deserved personal time. This will allow you to rest, unwind, and enjoy the life you have worked so hard to achieve. Setting those boundaries and being strict with them will also keep aspects of your personal life from impacting your professional life. A Balance suggests ways to address personal issues at work. Allowing personal struggles to spillover into the workplace can directly and detrimentally impact your company, your career and your team.


Just as health problems can cause you to be irritable and unreliable, so can personal issues. Unfortunately, your private life and your work life are bound to intersect at some point and affect your performance and productivity. The key is to minimize these overlaps by dealing with such issues privately. After all, happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy ones.


Need assistance setting strict boundaries in your professional life? 


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About the Author

Tessa Guthrie

Tessa is happily a telecom company leader, where she puts her knowledge and skills into practice. She is passionate and curious about the trends surrounding employee experience. Tessa strives to share her knowledge through writing. In her spare time, Tessa loves going on hiking trips with her precious little ones, Cam and Mitchell, and inventing healthy desserts that her loved ones can enjoy guilt-free.


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