Time Boundaries Work Best When They Come from Your Power

Railed Bridge-Time Boundaries

Time Boundaries keep you on track.

Time boundaries are powerful time tools that enable you to productively focus on your priorities. Yet setting and maintaining time boundaries can be a challenge.

Last week, in a post titled Retrieve Lost Time with Time Boundaries that Stick we shared some guidelines for setting these all-important boundaries with clarity and compassion. Today I want to share  another timely tip — one that will move you steadily toward success.

TIP: Find your center of power before setting time boundaries.

Loyalty to self helps communication flow. Establish a loving and supportive inner climate so you can weather others’ responses.

One thing that makes boundaries difficult to set is that while you are gaining time, others lose your participation. Can you empathize with their feelings while remaining true to yourself? If so, you will be able to calmly hear people out. And you won’t become agitated by their response or try to control them.

Interestingly, your calm acceptance of their feelings signals that you do not require their permission in order to move forward with your plans.

ACTION STEP: Preparing for each encounter individually is key.

Make 2 tally sheets of gains and losses that your new plan will bring about. One page for you, and one for the person you’ll be taking your time back from.

Draw a line down the middle of the first page. On the left side, list the benefits you’ll enjoy, and on the right side, note any losses your new boundary will create for you. Repeat the process on the second page, considering the viewpoint of the other person.

What do you learn? Does this give you an idea of the response you might receive? You are much less likely to take their reaction personally, if you understand what changes they face. And your ability to see both sides of the situation will help you negotiate a win/win solution.

Finally, create a mantra that affirms your right to take charge of your time. Use it generously to support yourself, and gently let things unfold.

EXPLORATION: Deepen your decisiveness.

Using these tally sheets, you will see right in front of you how any time choice you make is a dynamic interplay of gains and losses.

Grounding yourself in this fundamental equation fosters realism, and it helps you empathize with others, as well. In other words, you will be tempering your assertiveness with flexibility.

Ultimately, this is mobilizing. You needn’t wait for the stars to align to “get it right”. Instead, honor the intricacy of your important relationships and move mindfully.

Then, setting time boundaries and taking back your time becomes an exercise in clear vision, loyalty to yourself and cooperation!

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