The bottom line: About to start a new assignment, figuring out, beforehand, what I want to do within it, and how much time I have/can/want to spend on it is crucial, especially since my habit has been to care for others at the expense of me. And I will no longer do that. So I’d better get on with figuring out how to set my own boundaries.

How do you set your boundaries, she asked, after hearing me go on about a new opportunity at work. An opportunity I will be saying Yes to, because it is a clear Yes within. Only, it’s a Yes and as I will not be dropping everything else I’ve got cooking. I could, more or less, this could be a full-time assignment. And that. I don’t want. I will continue working with a long-term client of mine as well as the work I am doing around the concept of tankespjärn (coaching, Mastermind-facilitation, writing, podcasting and so on). 

Hearing me say all that, is when she asked:
How do you set your boundaries?

P r e c i s e l y.
How do I?
How do I make clear, crystal clear, what I want to do within the new project, how much time I have to spend on it, and how much I will devote to that other stuff, which, besides long-term client and tankespjärn also constitute a handful of regular meet-up’s of varying kinds –weekly reading retreats and one-on-one Zoom calls, the precious Writers Club-sessions and my embodiment&exploration-circle, Campfire Sisters and Problem-Solvers befriending dragons, the book circle for Women Who Run With the Wolves and guitar lessons, just to name a few– that infuse me with energy, tankespjärn and a sense of belonging that I do not take for granted. 

If the aspect of money was off the table… I’d still want to do all of these things. I enjoy them. I enjoy the people I work and interact with, I love how my brain get to face challenges, issues and problems to solve of such varying nature, I find the wide range of topics and endeavors nourishing. I don’t want to let any of it go.

Then there’s me-time.
Reading. Writing. Working in the garden, going for walks, bingeing on Netflix.
Not to forget my morning ritual, such an integral part of my daily routine.
Cooking and grocery shopping, having dinner with the kids, (and I won’t write cleaning house, because honestly… I don’t. I just. Don’t.) and going for the occasional skinny dipping-dip in the ocean.

Somewhere, my rational me knows there’s twenty-four hours to the day (yeah!), and one-hundred-and-sixty-eight hours to a week (whoop!), and in no way can all of my waking hours be scheduled with work. Or can? Sure, it could, I could. But I know very well… I. Do. Not. Want. That. 

So, how do I set my boundaries?
How do I make sure that I, in my caring for others (and me), don’t fall into the eternal trap of what has constituted Helenaness so far, which has entailed caring for others at the expense of me.

Well. Even before I’d gotten news of the new opportunity I’d made a pdf of the past five weeks in my calendar, to try to classify the appointments according to the three tiers above (the long-term client, Tankespjärn and energy-infusing meet-up’s). A good place to start, keeping hours for the new assignment in mind as well. In parallel I will write down exactly what parts of the new gig thrill me, and which ones fall further down the scale, that scale which starts on zero with I hate doing this, and wouldn’t touch it no matter how much you pay me, and ends on ten with I love doing this, and would gladly pay you to get to do it (except I won’t tell my client that!). 

Because this is for sure, I am determined not to accept this new assignment, or for that matter live my life, in such a way that I care for others at the expense of me. Instead, I now have, as my guiding star, the understanding that I will care for me, and others.