Hi there and welcome. My name is Kerstin Jatho from 4Seeds Consulting, a transformational coach that assists organisations and individuals to shift from languishing to flourishing. In this audio, I want to share with you how to communicate effectively in setting healthy boundaries and expectations.

So, in other words, how to get a healthy work-life balance. As the saying goes: “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And I think we’ can all relate to that. Just focusing on all work and not having a healthy balance where we bring in sports or fun or social environments drains us a lot. And somehow, we quite often get it distorted.

And of course, there are periods in your life where work does dominate a little bit, but it should be the occasion and not the norm. With the new millennials coming into the workplace, as well as the generation Zs, work-life balance is extremely important for them and something they focus on immensely, because for them it’s really getting that balance right.

This is something perhaps the older generations can learn something from, and are maybe envious that we never did when we were at that younger stage. So, what really gets in the way of setting a work-life balance? And from my experience, it’s really been a lot about not being able to effectively communicate what our needs are.

Organisations have been challenged in telling us what they need from us. Extra time, an extra project that needs to be completed, something to be completed earlier, an extra task gets added on to us. So, one is challenged with giving us all the additional work. So, it really is … the responsibility lies on us as individuals to sit back and say it’s so much and no more.

And you need to be clear on what is that boundary. What is your limit and what are you prepared to work at? And if you’re not bringing in that limit, the relationship between your work and your own fun time becomes distorted, which results in you becoming resentful towards your employer. And sometimes it’s not even their fault or them knowing.

The statistic is that 75% of verbal communication is misunderstood, ignored, or forgotten. So, we really have to put in a lot of emphasis on what we are communicating when doing work-life balance. There are really three processes that one has to look at putting in a work-life balance. And the first one that we’ll need to start off with is to be clear what your actual needs are.

What do you need? How much time are you prepared to work? How much time do you need for physical activities, socialising, unwinding in the evening, off time, and so on and so forth? So you need to understand what your needs are. Do you prefer to work in the morning and have more free time in the afternoon, or are you more a night owl person who prefers to work later and have the morning time free?

Do you want to work Mondays to Thursdays and take off Friday, but therefore start working on Sunday? So, it’s really what are your needs based on your lifestyle that’s around you? So that’s the first process. One really has to look. The second one is what are your expectable working hours? Are they fair?

And do they fit in with what you can provide? So, for example, somebody who works a lot of shift work, I mean, are those acceptable hours for you? Because shift work is very draining and very taxing on work-life balance and obviously plays a lot of havoc with your body rhythm clock and so on.

So, we know that shift work is one of the most stressful components of working. The third one is when you are in a working environment, reflect on the tasks when they are given to you. It will be normal. Your supervisor will come to you and ask you to do an additional task, to do something quickly, something that wasn’t really on your plan of action to do.

The question, perhaps to sit back and ask yourself first, is, is this mine to complete? Am I the ideal person to complete this? And if the answer is yes, then the next question is can somebody else perhaps start with this activity and then you take over? If the answer is no, that you are not actually the ideal person to complete this, then it’s a conversation to go back to your supervisor or line manager and ask, why have you given this to me? And maybe they’ve had a reason that they’ve seen potential for you to grow in this area or an opportunity for you to develop in it. So don’t always assume that it’s just been given to you half-heartedly and perhaps just establish and if it has been given to you for a specific reason. But you have tasks to focus on and they have a tight deadline. Then again, that comes back to an open conversation to say, I’m busy with two tasks right now, you’re adding a third one to this task, which one now has a priority?

This process alone is very often overlooked. When it comes to setting boundaries and expectations in the work environment, we just don’t effectively communicate with our line managers and supervisors on why this task was given to us. If we can complete it within the timeframe, if not, why not? And if we can give it to somebody else to start. I personally had to learn that over multiple years because every time the task was given to me, it was just assumed that I had to complete it and I had no choice and I just worked very long and very hard and had no fun time, no play time. And the detriment was that I became physically quite ill. So you learn with time that work-life balance is really very important.

And it also means that you saying yes to yourself, and you’re honouring yourself. So work-life balance is very important to bring into your life. What I’d like to encourage you to do is to experiment or consider what your needs are. What do you really need? How much time do you need off to bring in that balance?

And what are areas in your life that you feel you would love to do, but never find time to do? And how can you integrate them? So perhaps to map out your ideal 24-hour clock that you can perhaps allocate to, because that will really assist you to see how skewed or healthy your work-life balance is.

Thank you for listening. And I look forward to connecting with you in the next audio.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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