How to set clear work boundaries — and stick to them - Deepstash

Perhaps overtime takes us away from our loved ones, but it’s helping us to save for a down payment. Perhaps one of our nonnegotiables will be to consume a certain amount of water per day, which means we need to factor in time in our water schedule to have a drink. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?! But so many of us get our heads down and crash through the day only to find we have a headache when we log off, possibly caused by dehydration and not having had a break from our computer screens or any break at all.


The World Health Organization has defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It states that the syndrome is characterized by: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”


Even though switching off can feel counterproductive, it’s playing the long game. There needs to be space between the occupancy of self and work. Taking the breaks we’re entitled to is a good way to have respite and create space — the coffee breaks, the lunch breaks, the vacation time and (if we’re unwell) sick leave. Creating space by taking breaks doesn’t mean that we’re no longer passionate, dedicated or motivated — it simply increases our capacity to keep harnessing our passion, dedication and motivation.


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