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Recovering Workaholics can help you create a life full of so much more than just work.
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Volume 16 | February 2008 | Creating Personal Boundaries

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Contents


Part 1 - Welcome! [Back to Top]

Dear Recovering Workaholic,

Welcome to this our sixteenth newsletter for Recovering Workaholics.

As I complete this newsletter I am mindful that today is February the fourteenth. A day set aside traditionally for love and relationships. It is all too easy to take those we love for granted or find that we ease the sense of loneliness of having no one special be immersing ourselves in work.

Ignoring the state of your love life will do nothing to enhance it. Psychologists have undertaken a huge study and discovered that those characteristics which underpin the consummate relationship are commitment, passion and the ability to share intimately the good things and the bad. 

They found the personality type of those who make the best relationships are those who are “agreeable”. Those ready to compromise, to be gentle with their partner and who take time. Not surprisingly they found the characteristics of the most successful business people were those who had a far harder edge, they went so far as to say it was those who were prepared to be “disagreeable” when necessary. 

Whist it is easy to dismiss such studies as a bit of fluff I think it is worth considering whether you take your work persona home with you, and whether you commit time, energy and focus on your personal life and the people who are important to you.

There are so many different calls upon our time; it is often difficult to fit everything in. How often have you said or heard, “I must make more time”. Sadly it is impossible to make more time. What ever you do there are only 24 hours in any day or 168 hours a week. We cannot manufacture more time. What we can do is make better use of the time we have at our disposal.

One way to make better use of your time is to create appropriate and sustainable boundaries. So many people find it difficult to do this effectively and the consequences can be far reaching. It can impact not only on our time but on the quality of lives and relationships and how we feel about ourselves.

If you want to create more defined and sustainable boundaries in your professional and personal life you will find this month’s article “Creating Effective Boundaries” helpful.

If you would like some help in redefining your boundaries and learning strategies to maintain them effectively please contact us directly.

Recovering Workaholics is a growing concern. We offer 1:1 coaching, and training to facilitate those who want a truly satisfying life. Understanding what drives you to work to the point where love, happiness and fulfilment are the poor relation is the first step to creating a life you truly love. We can help you work towards achieving your “dream” life.

We also offer support for those who are facing retirement or who have recently retired, as well as those who are experiencing redundancy and are finding it difficult to adjust to the change.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in working with us please let us know by contacting us on info@recoveringworkaholics.com

Make 2008 the year when you took consistent action to make a positive difference to the quality of your own life and for those who work with you.

With best wishes,

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!

Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel International: +44 1708 703 959
Email: gina@recoveringworkaholics.com


Part 2 - Recommended Read [Back to Top]

Open Your Mind To Receive by Catherine Ponder

Open Your Mind To Receive
by Catherine Ponder

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

FROM THE AUTHOR:
"Why should you deliberately open your mind to receive? Because most of us have endured a pinched, narrow existence for no good reason. We have blocked our good from getting through to us in the process... Anyone who leads a pinched, narrow existence is not expressing his true nature. He is only cheating himself."

Catherine Ponder is considered one of America's foremost inspirational authors. She has written more than a dozen books, which includes her bestselling classic, THE DYNAMIC LAWS OF PROSPERITY (DeVorss Publications, 1962). She is a minister of the nondenominational Unity faith, long known as "the pioneer of positive thinking".

It is particularly worth reading if you want to make the most of your life by looking for the positive in any given situation.


How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively by Gina Gardiner How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) by Gina Gardiner

Order Book Online - £15

Download e-Book Now - £15

Offers lots of practical strategies for managers to help get the very best of their staff as individuals and as a team.

Everything in the book has been tried and tested in a variety of organizations; it is a distillation of over 30 years experience of developing leadership at every level.

The book does not attempt to teach grandmothers or grandfathers to suck eggs, but offers tried and tested principles, strategies and ideas which have been proven to work.

Time, energy and money are all very precious resources and all three seem to be in short supply for most busy managers.

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) Can help! Dip into it if you are facing specific issues or use the comprehensive approach to underpin ongoing and sustained individual and team development.

It has relevance for experienced managers who want to share good practice and for aspiring leaders who want to develop and deepen their leadership skills.

The book covers a wide range of issues including

  • Developing strategic vision
  • Creating your dream team
  • Creating a ‘Can Do’ culture
  • Effective delegation
  • Holding people to account
  • Developing a solutions approach
  • The power of anticipation
  • Giving positive feedback
  • Having those “hard conversations”
  • Managing stress for you and your team
  • Creating a good work life balance

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) will stand alone but you will find it useful to use it in conjunction with the companion book Kick Start Your Career.


Kick Start Your Career by Gina Gardiner Kick Start Your Career by Gina Gardiner

Order Book Online - £15

Download e-Book Now - £15

This book is designed for new initiates into the business world and graduates who are ambitious and want to create a successful career for themselves. It is a no nonsense, jargon free manual, full of practical ideas and strategies to support the development of leadership from day one.

These books can be ordered via our web site at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php.


Part 3 - Products and Special Offers! [Back to Top]

The three new CDs that we mentioned last month are now availabe to buy from www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php. We have produced them especially for you to tackle the most common problems that seem to affect many of our members. They are available as CDs and are also available as downloadable MP3 files.


Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme

Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme

Take time out of your busy and stressful day to relax.

True relaxation is known to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, clear the mind and leave you feeling alert, refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day with renewed energy and vigor.

"A Spanish Theme" uses a mixture of guided imagery and deep breathing exercises to take you on an intensely relaxing journey.

Stress is sited as the cause of over 500,000 days of absence a year in the UK alone. It represents a huge cost in both economic and personal terms. In order to deal with it we must first understand what it is and what causes it.

Where stress is detrimental people are often in situations where they feel they have little control. Sustained exposure to such negative situations can have serious implications for the health and well being of the individual and ultimately for the organization as a whole

Relaxation is a powerful tool to combat stress. Learning to take time out, to truly relax has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve mental acuity and reduce stress.

Our Relaxation Tape with a Spanish theme is the first in a series of relaxation tapes created by Gina Gardiner associates.

Using visualization, guided imagery and deep breathing exercises take time out of your hectic day to unwind, de-stress and relax!


Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern Without Drugs

Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern Without Drugs

Sleep is vital to our health and sense of wellbeing.  We need it as much as we need food and water and the air we breathe.  It is during sleep that the body rests and repairs itself.  Good quality sleep leaves us feeling refreshed, re-energized and ready to face the new day. 

Insomnia affects most people at some time during their lives.  For many it is a passing phase caused because of a stressful event in their lives.  For chronic sufferers it becomes a way of life.  Although it is not life-threatening it can and does threaten the quality of life for many sufferers leaving them frustrated, exhausted and feeling low.

"Beat Insomnia" uses deep trance techniques to help you retrain your sleep pattern without drugs.

Use "Beat Insomnia" to get a great nights sleep and make Insomnia a thing of the past.


Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You

Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You

We all feel less confident in certain situations. This CD is designed to help you feel confident in any situation. It uses tried and tested NLP techniques to help you develop the confidence you need to tackle new social situations or when gicing an important presentation or interview.

  • How often do you wish you felt more confident? 
  • Do you worry about social events or standing up to talk in front of work colleagues?
  • Would you like to live your life feeling that you are in control?
  • Do you have butterflies in your stomach that feel as if they are wearing hobnailed boots when you have to go to an interview or a meeting?
  • Is the voice in your head telling you - you cant do it?

Developing confidence is about much more than learning to do an activity better.

It is about changing how we feel about ourselves and dealing with our thoughts and beliefs.  It is about facing the things we fear and being curious about why we fear them.

Use "Creating the Confident You" to learn to push through the fear and create a world of limitless possibilities  one where you are in control of your own destiny.


We expect the following titles to be available later in the year.

  • Relaxation CD 2 - A Country Theme
  • Relaxation CD 3 - Sky

For any further information or advice about CDs contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959


Part 4 - Feature Article[Back to Top]

Creating Personal Boundaries

Before we look at how best to create and sustain effective boundaries it would be useful to define what is meant by boundaries.

Boundaries are where we set the expectations of ourselves and others. What we are prepared to do or not. What time we are prepared to give to ourselves and others. What personal resources we will make available for ourselves and others. The choices we make about what is acceptable behaviour and the way we expect to be treated.

Boundaries are governed to a large extent by how we feel about ourselves and the extent to which our sense of self is determined internally or through the external verification we receive from others. If you have a strong sense of who you are and you feel good about yourself, setting boundaries is easy. If your sense of worth is generated by what others think of you, or you get your sense of identity from doing things for others setting and maintaining clear boundaries can be far more tricky.

Many people feel they are the victim and that they have no control over how they are treated or what is expected of them. They believe that as a partner, parent or employee it is their job to be a doormat. They put the needs and wishes of others before their own and in doing so make a rod for their own back and in doing so limit the development and growth of independence in the other party.

Let’s consider some of the underlying themes when you failing to set boundaries:

  • Everyone else is more important than me. My needs come well down the list.
  • If I say no or am too strict people won’t like me.
  • If I don’t say “yes” I’ll get passed over for promotion. People will think I’m bad at my job.
  • I have to do it all, if I don’t it won’t get done properly. It it’s my responsibility.
  • Things have just crept up on my. I’m not sure how I got landed with this lot.
  • I must answer my phone – it doesn’t matter how late it is or how trivial the interruption, if I don’t I won’t be doing my job properly.
  • Poor me – no one appreciates me.
  • I’ll have to do even more so they notice how good I am.
  • No one listens to what I say, they constantly undermine me.
  • I can’t switch off, I can’t relax.

Setting boundaries with others is not about dodging responsibility. It is about doing what is reasonable and giving yourself permission to treat yourself equally with others. Is your sense of self worth is driven by what others think about you? Or in real terms what you think others think of you.

Think about what is fair and equitable. It is often useful to think about yourself as you would a concerned best friend. A best friend will give you honest advice based on what is fair. They will hold you to account and tell you how it is. What advice would you give yourself? Do you accept situations which are unreasonable? What impact does it have on your life? How could things be better?

The relationship you have with yourself is reflected in the relationship you have with others. Respecting yourself and recognizing your self for the unique human being you are is a first step. Think about the people you know of who command respect. Consider the expectation they have of themselves and others. 

Why are they never taken for granted? 

It is because they expect people to treat them fairly.

The rules for creating boundaries are the same for your professional life, for your personal life, within your intimate relationships, with family, your children and friends. 

  • Boundaries need to be in the interests of both parties. They should be fair.
  • Boundaries need to be appropriate for purpose. What works in one context may not be suitable for another.
  • Boundaries should be sustainable. Think about what you can cope with on a bad day, when the car has gone wrong, the cat has been sick and a client is playing up. It is no good creating boundaries which only work when things are going well and you feel on top of the world.
  • Boundaries should be consistent. If you keep changing the goal posts people get confused, there are mixed messages and the boundaries become devalued.
  • Paradoxically there needs to be flexibility to deal with exceptional circumstances. The key is that both parties understand what constitutes an exceptional circumstance, rather than confusion created when boundaries have no clear basis.
  • Set up the boundaries explicitly. Ensure that all parties understand what is expected of them. Set them up early in the relationship and offer a sound reason for doing so. E.g. I’ll take phone calls until 7.00pm but after that please phone only in an emergency. Be explicit about what you consider to be an emergency or people will interpret it differently to you.
  • Boundaries should not be about ego and wielding power. Where position is abused in this way you may gain what you want in the short term but it will damage your long term relationships. As a Boss or a parent you need to set boundaries based on your greater experience, status and understanding of the bigger picture. Abusing your position by setting boundaries to make the other person feel inferior or fearful or simply because you can is a recipe for disaster.
  • Boundaries should be set and maintained with respect. Consider your body language, tone of voice, the tenor of the email or phone call. Temper, having tantrums, sulking or withholding your attention when others fail to adhere to the boundaries you set simply makes matters worse.
  • Involve the other person whether it is your colleague, partner, subordinate or child whenever and where ever appropriate. Even young children can be involved. When people understand what is required and why they are far more likely to comply. Be clear what is non -negotiable and why.
  • Offer people choices with clear consequences if they comply and if they do not. The consequences should be in keeping with the boundary and the impact it will make.
  • Boundaries need to be reviewed regularly. As circumstances change, children get older, staff more experienced you may with to change the boundary, the consequences or both.
  • Model the behaviours you want from others, show by example.
Remember to set boundaries for yourself. Compartmentalizing your life and making a clear boundary between work time and personal time is really important if you are to relax and recuperate and if you are to have a happy healthy relationship with your partner and the family. When you are at work – do your best. Be productive rather than busy. When it is time to go home learn to switch off. Be in the moment and focus on your partner, your child. It is really difficult for your partner if you are there physically but with your internal focus still solving problems at work or creating some new project. It diminishes their sense of self value. I’ll be dealing with strategies to switch off in next month’s article.

Time spent listening to that voice in your head which constantly nags you about what you have done or failed to do is so de-energising. That energy could be used so much more productively. If your inner voice is loud and persistent working with a coach can be very helpful.

If you are a manager setting boundaries with your staff can free you to lead strategically and give them the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and develop skills and experience. Effective delegation is crucial. You do not have to do everything yourself, or be the fall guy for all their mistakes. What you must do is create clear supportive structures which facilitate productive working. Those structures include effective boundaries.

Boundaries act like the markings on a map. You can find the quickest most straight forward route, avoid falling in rivers or crossing railway lines, know where you can safely rest and where you can find a hospital or a place of interest. When there are no signs it is so easy to loose your way and get into difficulty. 

Before we look at how best to create and sustain effective boundaries it would be useful to define what is meant by boundaries.

Boundaries are where we set the expectations of ourselves and others. What we are prepared to do or not. What time we are prepared to give to ourselves and others. What personal resources we will make available for ourselves and others. The choices we make about what is acceptable behaviour and the way we expect to be treated.

Boundaries are governed to a large extent by how we feel about ourselves and the extent to which our sense of self is determined internally or through the external verification we receive from others. If you have a strong sense of who you are and you feel good about yourself, setting boundaries is easy. If your sense of worth is generated by what others think of you, or you get your sense of identity from doing things for others setting and maintaining clear boundaries can be far more tricky.

Many people feel they are the victim and that they have no control over how they are treated or what is expected of them. They believe that as a partner, parent or employee it is their job to be a doormat. They put the needs and wishes of others before their own and in doing so make a rod for their own back and in doing so limit the development and growth of independence in the other party.

You might find it useful to work with a coach on some of these issues. If you would like a free 30 minute coaching session to explore how you could improve the relationship you have with yourself contact me on info@recoveringworkaholics.com


Part 5 - Media Interest [Back to Top]

I have been approached by a TV production company who are interested in developing an idea working with a group of people who want to change their work life balance for the better. If any of you would be interested please let us know.

Sadly the meeting with the MP has had to be postponed due to a bereavement. We are in the process of setting up a new appointment.

If you are aware of anything interesting in the media relating to work life balance please let us know on info@recoveringworkaholics.com.

Also, if you see anything about our organization in any publication not mentioned by us we would be very much like to hear about it on info@recoveringworkaholics.com.


Part 6 - organizations [Back to Top]
Effective organizational Boundaries Can Enhance The Quality of Life

Managing the boundaries between work and personal life is a juggling act for many people. If you manage people it is important to ensure that you create an environment where you can be seen to take reasonable care of your employees. Your style of management will impact on the quality of your team’s life but equally it has the potential to make the quality of your own life great or a real misery.

Management styles, poor people skills and delegation strategies, staff fearful of making mistakes or being found wanting all contribute to the pressure at work and the number of interruptions to personal time at home.

Clients often describe their difficulty of switching off. That they feel swamped by work invading their personal lives, that they have no space because of constant interruptions. I believe the problems fall into four broad categories.

Firstly - the issues which are directly related to the individual. For example if they are unable to switch off from work. Their energy and thoughts continue to focus on work. They may enjoy thinking about finding a creative solution or planning a new project. Some find worrying about their job, their ability to cope, how their boss treats them, relationships with their colleagues, being made redundant etc. etc. This can seriously interrupt family life and affects the quality of their sleep. Inability to get to sleep or waking very early and not being able to get back to sleep are very common. Either way there are inherent dangers in not having ‘down time’ for the individuals health, their relationship with themselves, their partners and family.

Secondly the issues which are related to the way Managers deal with their staff. Problems can be avoided if there are clear roles and responsibilities, where expectations are fair and explicit, where delegation is done effectively with appropriate levels of delegated authority and appropriate training and support. Strategic management rather than fire fighting can reduce work load and free up time and energy. The way change is managed within any organization has a huge impact on the workers within it. 

Creating well thought out decisions where staff are involved and there is good communication is far more effective than reacting to circumstances at the last minute. 

Thirdly the issues which are related to the way staff treat one another. Do they work as a team or are they busy scoring points over one another? Do people take responsibility for they actions are they busy blaming others for the short comings? Are there clear guidelines for how people should treat one another? Are these modelled by those in authority?

Lastly are the issues which arise out of the management of information, the use of technology, interfacing with colleagues, clients and the wider community. 

Living and working in the twenty first century brings with it a number of challenges unheard of in the last century. The development of technology, laptops, Blackberries, mobile phones and emails mean that you and your employees are available twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year, world wide.

It is often unclear where the pressure emanates from. Without careful thought the technology we thought would make our lives easier is creating more and more demands on our time. 

Does your organization stagger under a constant barrage of emails and telephone calls? Do you have clear guidelines for their management? What is the corporate view of what is constitutes an acceptable level of interruption to a member of staff’s personal time? Do you have one? If you analysed those interruptions how many of they were so urgent they would not wait until the next day or could have been avoided with a little forward planning? Do you have a curfew after a certain time at night unless it is an emergency? Do you have explicit criteria for what constitutes an emergency? If so, how is that shared with staff? I believe it is time we made sure that technology was managed effectively rather than let the tail wag the dog.

The rules for creating boundaries are the same for your personal professional life and for your team.

1) Boundaries need to be in the interests of all parties. They should be fair.

2) Boundaries need to be appropriate for purpose. What works in one context may not be suitable for another.

3) Boundaries should be sustainable. Think about what you can cope with on a bad day, when the car has gone wrong, the cat has been sick and a client is playing up. It is no good creating boundaries which only work when things are going well and you feel on top of the world. They should work just as well when you are not available.

4) Boundaries should be consistent. If you keep changing the goal posts people get confused, there are mixed messages and the boundaries become devalued.

5) Paradoxically there needs to be flexibility to deal with exceptional circumstances. The key is that both parties understand what constitutes an exceptional circumstance, rather than confusion created when boundaries have no clear basis.

6) Set up the boundaries explicitly. Ensure that all parties understand what is expected of them. Set them up early in the relationship and offer a sound reason for doing so. E.g. I’ll take phone calls until 7.00pm but after that please phone only in an emergency. Be explicit about what you consider to be an emergency or people will interpret it differently to you.

7) Boundaries should not be about ego and wielding power. Where position is abused in this way you may gain what you want in the short term but it will damage your long term relationships. As a Boss you need to set boundaries based on your greater experience, status and understanding of the bigger picture. Abusing your position by setting boundaries to make the other person feel inferior or fearful or simply because you can is a recipe for disaster.

8) Boundaries should be set and maintained with respect. Consider your body language, tone of voice, the tenor of the email or phone call. Temper, having tantrums, sulking or withholding your attention when others fail to adhere to the boundaries you set simply makes matters worse.

9) Involve the other person/ people whenever and where ever appropriate. Even young children can be involved. When people understand what is required and why they are far more likely to comply. Be clear what is non -negotiable and why.

10) Offer people choices with clear consequences if they comply and if they do not. The consequences should be in keeping with the boundary and the impact it will make.

11) Boundaries need to be reviewed regularly. As circumstances change, children get older, staff more experienced you may with to change the boundary, the consequences or both.

12) Model the behaviours you want from others, show by example.

The most effective employees are those who are healthy, energised, and enthusiastic. Everyone needs to recharge the batteries, to relax enjoy life and have some fun. As the Boss you have a duty of care to your staff to ensure you take their wellbeing seriously. Creating a healthy culture and minimizing harmful stress can best be done in an environment where clear, fair boundaries are in place.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you ensure you make the most of your staff please contact us through
info@recoveringworkaholics.com
or through
info@graduatesolutions.co.uk


Part 7- Support For Partners Of Workaholics [Back to Top]

There is now a monthly Newsletter designed for the partners of Workaholics. This can be accessed by going to www.recoveringworkaholics.com/partners.php.


Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on info@recoveringworkaholics.com or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner

********

For any further information or to discuss your coaching needs contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or
phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).


Gina Gardiner, recognized by "Investors In People" as creating an "innovative and exemplary training programme for emerging and middle managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change Management” and in supporting organizational leaders in developing strategic vision and creating a “can do” culture.

If you aren't a subscriber already, please sign up to receive the next issue of the free monthly Recovering Workaholics newsletter at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/freemonthlynewsletter.php.

You may copy or distribute this newsletter, provided that full credit is given and copyright information is included.
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Author : Gina Gardiner

For any further information or advice about Recovering Workaholics contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or
phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).