As we are all adjusting to working from home, there are all sorts of interruptions and a need to set boundaries and negotiate with others around our time.
My favourite way of approaching boundaries is to get clear for yourself first around what’s ok and what’s not ok and also what the consequence is –that your willing to follow through on — if the boundary is met or not met. Then sharing this with the person involved. Then even reinforcing it through many, many interactions. *
For example, for the past year and a half I have been setting up my own space in the household for working/writing and developing boundaries with my girls (Maggie 6, Alice 3) as I do my writing and self-reflection in the morning between 5-630am.
Here’s what I have learned: If the girls wake up before 630, which is often the case, I greet them warmly and then share that “Right now, I am writing until 630 and it’s your time to have to yourself as well. This time to myself is important to me. What are you going to do during this time?” Then they will share what their plan is (colour, draw or play paw patrol) and I ask them to tell me when it’s 630 (they like to come in and tell me – it’s very exciting!).
What I have found is important to share in the current work from home climate is that if I am interrupted it means that I won’t have free time with them later. If they do not make requests to me and support themselves during this time then I will be able to have free time with them later. If not, then I will need to work in time that we would otherwise be able to have focussed time together. This has been motivating for them and the response from Maggie has been “Ok Alice, Let’s go!”
What I know for sure is that it’s not one conversation and then it magically happens – it’s a process for them but that they definitely respond and adjust if they see how it benefits them. It’s VERY important to follow through on the focussed time, or whatever you decide is how they benefit, and that when you are having the focussed time to thank them for not interrupting so that you can enjoy this time together. It is important to make this connection for them. I’ve also found it doesn’t have to be a lot of focussed time for it to feel good for them.
As a bonus, I have realized that it’s positive for us to have these boundaries set within our relationship. In this way they are learning how to support themselves and for them to come to understand that I am putting myself first, which is something that I want to teach them to do in their own relationships. In this way, we can model for our children how to set boundaries with others and set them up to have positive conversations around their own needs now and in the future.
How does this resonate for you? Where do you need to get clear with those around you and have these conversations?
If you are struggling with creating boundaries or focussing on your writing especially during this time, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary Discovery Call where we will look at what’s happening for you and support you with next steps.
Looking forward to connecting and hope that you are doing well!
*Thanks to my mentors Brene Brown and Brooke Castillo for their work on explaining boundaries. I have merged their two ideas here to support myself and hope that they support you too!