Temporary Time Boundaries — How They Help

assertive time boundaries
Time boundaries help, always.

What are temporary time boundaries and why would you want to use them?

We’ve written in the past here about time boundaries, and today I want to focus on the importance of paying attention to how you communicate these boundaries to yourself.

Setting, communicating, and maintaining time boundaries is a vital skill for getting things done. These important boundaries create space and help you stay focused in the moment.

Even when something you’re looking forward to (or dreading) is on your horizon, time boundaries are vital to your productivity.

Temporary Time Boundaries — What are They?

Think of time boundaries as choices you make. They often elicit strong reactions, both from others and from ourselves. That’s because we are prone to hear these boundaries as permanent edicts.

The reality is that, by definition, these boundaries are always temporary. In any given moment, when you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you are saying ‘no’ to other things.

It’s not a ‘no’ that lasts forever, but if the other things are tasks or activities that you enjoy, then saying ‘no’ to them may be a challenge. When I need to do this, I find it helpful to remember that the boundaries I set are temporary time boundaries. I will be able to come back to those things, just not right now.

When I’ve written about time boundaries and children, I’ve encouraged you to make it clear to children that the boundary won’t be forever, and that you’ll do something fun at a specified later time.  This gives children something to look forward to, and helps them to be patient as they wait for your “boundaried time” to be over.

Try it on yourself, too…

Messages that are clarifying for others are also often very useful as self-talk.  Being unambiguous about the span of a time boundary, as well as what comes next, allows you to not fight the limit.  Instead, you can relax and focus on what you need to do. It is very freeing to know that later you’ll be able to come back to the activity that you’re delaying.

In the post I’ve cited above, here’s how I describe it when setting a boundary with others, and especially with children. The same general process extends to your self-talk:

Be sure to communicate your boundary if there are others who will be affected by it. (This is especially important with children, but is a respectful gesture to anyone affected.) You don’t have to say exactly what you’ll be doing (it’s okay to have boundaries about that, too, if you want). But you can say something like, “I’m going to take 15-minutes for myself after work today. I’ll check in with you after my quiet time.”

Remember, this moment is what you have. How do you manage your time boundaries to enhance your productivity? And how do you communicate those boundaries to yourself?

Here’s more help with time boundaries…

What if you could find another hour every day?

You can.

I invite you to sign up and download The Finding Time Boundary Template. It’s complimentary, and when you sign up you will also receive (if you don’t already) my weekly Finding Time Tips and my monthly, Award-Winning Finding Time E-zine.

Let’s explore time together …

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