Where Is the Boundary Between Your Work and Your Life?

Life and Work Boundary

You work all day.

You check email at lunch and wherever you are. And then you keep checking (and answering) emails when you get home.

Do you ever stop working and start living?

More importantly, do you know where the boundary is between your work and your life?

Where is the Boundary?

Does your work day start when you check email in bed in the morning?

Are you still checking it before you go to sleep?

For many, work has taken over their lives.

They don’t know where one begins and one ends.

“To have a life, you need to have a boundary between your work and personal time.” (Tweet this Quote)

Do you have a life that you can discern from your work?

Is Work Your Life?

If you are like most people, your job runs into your personal life. (Although, for some it is the opposite…)

Mobile email and smartphones, can be a technology leash that keeps you always working.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can draw a boundary between your work and your life.

You just need to be clear about where one ends and the other begins.

Here are 10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Work And Life Boundary:

  1. Where is the boundary between your work and your life? Do you know where work ends and your life begins? You need to have a clear distinction between the two.
  2. Do you have balance? Without balance, things eventually topple over. If one of your areas is dominating the other, it will create problems in the other. For some, this reaches the extreme that one destroys the other.
  3. Is one area negatively impacting the other? – Are you bringing work stress home? Or perhaps, you are bringing home stress to work? If you are not careful, your attitude and emotions in one area will negatively affect the other.
  4. Which is more important to you? This is a tough one. Do you “Work to Live” or “Live to Work?” When there is a conflict, which one do you choose to put first? Your answer to this question can be very telling about your priorities.
  5. Which do you spend more time on? – Life is all about quantity time. How much time are you spending on work versus life? You can’t spend the majority of your time on one and then cram the other into the few remaining moments of your day.
  6. Are you doing something you enjoy? – People often think of this question as it relates to their job. Do you enjoy your work? But, it is not limited to your job. Do you also enjoy what you are doing with the personal time in your life?
  7. Do you work after work? – Do you continue working into the evening? Receiving texts and email at all hours of the day. And even in bed with your smartphone?
  8. Are you ever off duty? Do you ever punch out of the time clock? What hours of the day are you actually off duty?
  9. Can you get work out of your head? – Are you able to disconnect from your work? Or do you spend your nights talking about work. Or losing sleep because of work stress and issues?
  10. Do you take your vacation? – Almost 60% of workers don’t take all their vacation. If this is you, what you are saying is that work is more important that your life. You are willing to sacrifice your personal time for work.

Draw a Line Between Work and Life

You need to know where your work ends and your life begins.

Draw a distinct line between the two.

Be clear, so that you can tell where one ends and the other begins.

You might just be able to take some time off… and enjoy it.

Question: Do you know where your job ends and your life begins? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Craig – I can shut off the ‘work’ thing without any trouble. Sure, I might have to do some work-related stuff when I’m home, but I can certainly turn it off when I want to/need to.

    My real problem is my iPhone. I’ve been working hard to change the habit, but (according to my wife, and she’s right) I have this problem where I can’t seem to leave my phone alone. I’m either checking email, or Twitter, or Instagram, or SOMETHING….

    It’s to easy to get sucked into Social Media. I know..this post is not about SM, but…I just had to share that.

    I think we need to put boundaries around everything. Otherwise, we wake up some day and wonder what the hell we did with the time we had. That’s a sad, sad place to be.

    Thanks for sharing more great stuff. I appreciate you !!

  • Tim Edwards

    That’s all fine and dandy if you are in the corporate world working largely office hours plus the occasional night away at a conference. A line can – and must – be drawn. There’s always someone else who can deal with things when you’re not there.

    However, many of us now run our own small businesses, where it’s just not practical to switch off – not if we want to continue trading! I run a vacation rental business and guests ring up with problems at all hours. I recently took a few days off with my family in an area with poor cell phone reception. One apartment had it’s door kicked-in (by a respectable businessman) because he locked himself out and couldn’t reach me (at midnight). This morning I’ve had calls at 6am that a bath tap has been left running and soaked the bedroom below. The list goes on!

    Most booking enquiries are now by email. Such is the expectation nowadays, if you don’t respond within a couple of hours, you can guarantee they will have booked elsewhere, Like many “ma and pa” businesses we can’t afford to pay for 24/7 staff coverage. So we just don’t take holidays and don’t switch off.

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  • Ash

    A very relevant article – thank you. One thing I have actively started doing is being very critical of which new ‘apps’ or ‘smart media’ I join/buy/subscribe to. In fact I have actively started deleting stuff on my iPhone which I find useless. I think drawing a line is important but this is not necessarily a line in time – it could be the simple act of charging your phone away from where you could hear it, putting it on vibrate and shutting the laptop. With Tim’s comments that may not be reasonable but in that case automated systems (even electronic secretaries) and making sure one takes their annual vacation helps. Thanks for all your ideas! I hope we all find a balance soon.

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  • Guest

    Craig, I work for myself, and started out as a professional organizer. I found that I never stopped, and always felt like I had to do more for my business. I finally developed a form that allows me to track all of my big goals for the year, important actions for the month, all of my known weekly tasks, and then finally the actions I need to take each day. It keeps me in touch with my most important things to do and accomplish, but more importantly gives me a stopping point each day.

    I know that if I have done everything I’ve identified as my priorities for a given day, I can stop. If I don’t get them done I can look ahead and integrate things into my schedule accordingly. Having a known stopping point made all the difference for me though.

    • Dorothy L Clear

      Great idea! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to try this.

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