Time management requires making tough decisions every day. You, alone, must decide what balance to strike between work and home. You maintain this balance with a boundary. It may be strong or it may be flexible. Just make sure it matches your values and that you communicate it clearly.

What happens if you create a strong boundary between work and home? It all depends upon factors like your temperament, your communication skills, and the strength of your support system. Explore these pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. If you discourage emergency calls from home or work, your schedule is less likely to be disrupted by others’ urgency. Constantly reacting to urgency can lead to rash decisions that undermine your effectiveness and erode others’ trust.
  2. Encouraging those who are qualified to handle emergencies on their own promotes their confidence and competence.
  3. Strong boundaries reduce outside distraction and encourage focus, flow, and personal productivity both at work and at home.

Cons:

  1. If demands that arise at home or work can’t be successfully delegated, those problems can escalate, consuming even more time.
  2. If you can easily transition from work to home activities, maintaining rigid distinctions can discourage creative solutions that enrich both areas of your life.
  3. Some people create flexible partnerships in which responsibilities are shared and differing strengths are pooled, to everyone’s benefit. Regimenting roles and maintaining strict boundaries deprives both parties from cooperative enterprises.

What’s Best for You?

Do you find yourself nodding strongly at one position or another? Take all the time you need to sort out the specifics. What can wait? What needs to be delegated? Answering these questions helps you prioritize and clarify lines of responsibility.

Discuss who does what, and when, with everyone involved. For example, under what circumstances will you take work home? What back-up support will your employer provide if your mother falls and breaks her hip? Are you willing to accept added responsibilities at work if you can fulfill them at home? Who can flex the most in an emergency, you or your partner?

Now is the time to sort this out. You and those close to you benefit by clarifying your roles right now. What conflicts might suddenly arise? Developing contingency plans lessens the possibility of straining relations in the heat of the moment.

Your reward is heightened productivity, improved communications and effective backup plans. Ultimately, your boundaries direct your energies and shape your life. Put these skills to work, and you will automatically maintain more positive control over your time.

What’s your next step to create more effective boundaries, so that you can find more time?