When to draw the line

If 2021 taught me nothing than the need for boundaries – then it was a good year. With all the stress of COVID-19 I implemented some small changes to help define limits. I found it hard to not respond to texts and emails from clients after work hours, to set times to read and meditate and even to step away from the family needs and focus on mine.

You may have noticed if you’ve contacted me recently that I won’t reply to your message if it’s after hours. I now sit regularly in my favourite chair to read each morning and my family can attest to the fact that I have escaped to walk, read or even just rest more than ever before in 2021.

The reason for this post is not to brag but rather to remind you that limits are important.

Whether it’s setting time limits on tasks like I needed to do or, setting physical limits on the things in your home…the theory is the same.

You first need to set the intention or goal – I will have all my books fit in this one bookcase, I will limit my goal clothes to this one box, I will watch TV for 2 hours per day or drink only 2 cans of soft drink a day. Whatever is your goal, you need to preplan it, write it down, verbalise it, mark it in your calendar – whatever works for you to remind you of that boundary you are setting for yourself.

The next step is to practice it. As this is a new habit it may take time to achieve it regularly.

For me, the first few days I had to physically leave my phone on the dining table when I went to sit and watch tv at night to ensure I wouldn’t be tempted to check my emails or texts after hours. Some days I still check but I don’t respond and that is HUGE for me. In my calendar I have a goal prompt to remind me to read each morning. Something about ticking it off helps me to get it done.

It’s kind of crazy because I want to do it and enjoy reading and learning yet I feel the pull to be doing other “productive” things.

Maybe this sounds familiar to your situation – you are literally tripping over things in your home yet don’t seem to find the time to prioritise that boundary setting, which can only make your life more simplified and easier. I get it. For me it’s not so much about my things needing boundaries but rather where I expend my energies. For others it could be what their money is spent on, time allocated, food eaten, calendar appointments, relationships, how many shoes they keep and more.

It took me reading a book to remind me to set some boundaries for myself. That it’s for my best interest to prioritise some things for me before giving to others. I needed something external to prompt me to take action. And I need tools to support me like a calendar reminder, a friend to walk with me and a PA to outsource some work to, to force me in a sense to stick to it.

So, if setting boundaries with your stuff is a goal of yours for 2022 and you need some support – ask a friend, hire a PO like me, write a big note and stick it to your wall and allocate a regular time in your calendar for “declutter time”.

All these are positive steps to drawing the line and setting your boundaries.

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