Why You Need To Start Setting Boundaries With Your Time, From A Therapist
By now, we're all aware of the importance of boundaries—from setting them to holding them and of course, to honoring others'. And as licensed therapist and relationship expert Nedra Glover Tawwab, MSW, LCSW, explained on a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, there's one particular type of boundary she wants us all to pay more attention to.
Why boundaries with our time are so crucial.
There are a handful of different categories for boundaries (i.e., intellectual boundaries, sexual boundaries, material boundaries, etc.), and according to Tawwab, our boundaries with time are one area where we suffer the most. That said, she explains it's also the area that we have the most control over.
"No one on this earth gets more than 24 hours in a day," she explains, noting that if you find your time boundaries are continually violated, it's because you keep allowing it. "It is your time, and you have the ability to say no around how you spend your time, or you can say yes to how you want to spend your time."
After all, Tawwab adds, our time affects the ways we can enjoy life. Yet we give it away, without even realizing it. "When we say yes, we're giving away time," she says.
How to honor your time.
So, how can we start to honor our own time boundaries, you ask?
"We have to be very intentional around how we're using that time, what we're saying yes or no to—because it is such a huge part of our experience," Tawwab says.
She adds that people who successfully implement boundaries understand the power of time and, even further, that even little things can be big distractions. (We've all thought a quick phone call would take a minute, and it ends up taking half an hour, for instance.)
"We allow it to keep going, and we're not intentional—and it really disturbs what we're able to do within a day," Tawwab tells mbg. "Successful people understand the value of time. They understand the importance of having boundaries around saying yes and no."
At the end of the day, she adds, it comes down to your ability to reserve your time to preserve your energy, delegating time to what matters, and understanding you do not have to do it all.
We talk a lot about boundaries in the context of relationships, sex, and work-life balance, but how often do we think about setting boundaries around our own time? As Tawwab says, we all have the same 24 hours each day—and what we choose to do with those hours is what becomes the story of our entire lives.
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Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.