Setting reasonable boundaries

Photo courtesy of Todd Martin (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Todd Martin (Creative Commons)

I have a problem with boundaries. I have a tendency to be a workaholic. I struggle to draw the line between work and play (over overwork and no rest as some would say).

In an interesting conversation with some friends recently, we discussed whether boundaries are actually to keep things out – or to fence things in. I’ve been pondering that a lot lately, and I think I’ve had it backwards until now.

I’ve tried to set boundaries like a fence to keep things out – like deciding not to check work email on weekends or evenings or saying no to certain new commitments. I’ve had the mindset of pushing things away from me.

Instead I realize I would be better served by setting boundaries on what I let in my life. I need to put up a fence around the things that are important to me. For instance, those people who mean the most to me, writing, running, my volunteer work with I Run 4, church. Those are the things I put first in my life and want to make time for.

Instead of trying to push other things out, I need to just focus on keeping those things in – and then there won’t really be time or energy for anything else.

How do you view boundaries – are they fencing things in or keeping things out?