Thursday, December 10, 2015

Setting Boundaries

I have been thinking a lot about boundaries lately, especially as the new year approaches. I know some things that I want to do and some changes that I need to make.



As a self-proclaimed explorer I am always drawn to boundaries, precious things lie within man-made boundaries and that is why signs are posted to protect them.

So, if I know that precious things that need to be protected lie within boundaries, why do I have such a hard time creating boundaries to protect myself and my work?

"How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don't value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries?"                                                                        
                                                                                            ~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

Most of my struggles with boundaries are related to protecting my time. Most people naturally assume that because I don't work I have lots of time on my hands, and that I would be delighted to help them with their projects, because I most certainly must be bored, and they are doing me a favor by giving me something to do. I, in turn, feel guilty because I don't have to work, and I should have the time to help them with their projects. Some truly are worthy projects, and I am delighted to help, making use of the photography and writing skills that God has given me. Other times though, helping out suddenly turns into me being in charge of the project, and way more time consuming than I signed up for. 

Once again my work, which I don't paid for, so it isn't really work - it's just a hobby, gets pushed to the far back burner. Once again I have let someone take advantage of my time. 

I have tried setting designated work days for myself in the past, and I usually hold to them for a month or two. Until there is a doctor's appointment that needs to be made, and their first available opening is on my work day, if I don't take that one how long will I have to wait for the next one. Or I set a date for lunch with a friend and the only day she can make it the whole month is on one of my work days. These little hiccups in the schedule seem innocent enough, but over time they keep adding up, and pretty soon I am not holding myself to any work days at all. 


Well, beginning January 5, 2016 this is all going to change. I am setting boundaries. I am going to have two designated work days per week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. No more appointments, no more lunches with friends on those days. Whether those days are spent writing, out on an adventure photographing, or processing photos from those adventures, that doesn't matter. What matters is that I am finally taking myself and my work seriously.

I am setting the necessary boundaries so that I can open the Etsy shop I have always talked about opening, so that I can start and finish writing pieces that I want to submit to various publications, so that I can process the hundreds of photos on my computer, and even get some printed to hang on my walls. 

Maybe someday I will get paid for my work, but then again maybe I won't, that doesn't make my work any less important than anybody else's work. If what I write or what I photograph makes a difference in even one person's life, I consider myself paid and paid richly. 
                                                                                     

26 comments:

  1. Wow, Sarah, I have been working on a post about boundaries too! Maybe it's this time of year that makes us realize we need to separate ourselves from too much emotion and neediness. It's great to hear that you are giving yourself the time to delve within. I REALLY need to do that too and am trying to work out a schedule too.

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  2. you have inspired me so much with this post and i just may be doing the exact same thing!!!!

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  3. I definitely need to use my time more wisely! I find myself putting off till tomorrow, because I know I'll have the time then. But, tomorrow brings more things to do and more to put off! Maybe I need some boundaries, too! Count me among the many that have been inspired by your photos and your writing! Your are richly blessed in both these fields!

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  4. Your work IS important, and deserves to have time set aside for it. As for inspiring others with your photos or writing, once again you've inspired me with both.

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  5. Great post and I so agree with what you've said. It made me think a little about my own boundaries and how I stick to them. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  6. This is a great post, Sarah. I think a lot of us who don't work struggle with the same conflict, and bravo to you for setting boundaries and announcing them. We all need "our" time, and when you're working toward a goal of getting published (been there!), the commitment is huge. I've always enjoyed reading your blog, and look forward to seeing more of your photography.

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  7. Yes! What you wrote here does make a difference in this one person's life...you inspire me to consider my own boundaries and to set some kind of schedule that honors the abilities and gifts I have. Thank you!

    I will be standing over here cheering you on. Stick with it and don't let anyone interfere. I, too, am staying home now and enjoying being a home maker, for the first time in decades. It feels wonderful at times, then I get the guilty thoughts and think others want me to do more. But lately I have learned that everything is as it is supposed to be.

    Striking a balance, setting good boundaries, all of it is important.

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  8. Sarah, I feel as though you wrote this post expressly for me! Truly, I couldn't have said it better as I have much the same dilemma. I think you hit upon the truth - we need to value our work, whether it generates financial income or not, set boundaries, respect and treasure the gift of creativity and curiosity, and celebrate that our art gives life meaning and significance and expression. I genuinely appreciate your authenticity and I think I'll follow your lead on the those days set aside for work (which in our case, feels like play!).

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  9. If we don't value our own work and time, nobody else will either. Since retirement, I don't feel the need to explain my schedule to anyone. I just say - no, I can't, I'm busy at that time. I don't expect others to give me a lengthy explanation if they can't do something, and I don't give one either.

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  10. Good for you. If you had a "real" job, as the world calls it, you would be committed to that time as well. I commend you for realizing that what you do is important and even if the only one ever touched by your talent was you, it's still worth it. Sideline, many more besides you are touched by your talent. One of them is me!

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  11. I totally get this, Sarah. Since I'm retired, I, too, find it is sometimes difficult to set boundaries. Like you, I work better if I have days set aside for my 'work'. Maybe together, we can help one another and figure this one out!

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  12. I SOOO get this. The most wonderful thing about turning 50? I no longer have a problem or feel guilty saying no. I don't even validate my no. It only took 25+ years to get it. If there's a problem, it's the other person...not mine! YEAH you!!! Just know, that the people closest to you will understand, the rest? Their problem, not yours! xoxo

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  13. Sounds like a great plan for all of us to think about and work on

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  14. Read this this morning before I went to work for the first time in two years! I wanted to reply then, but ....

    I am so proud of you Sarah! It is so easy to say yes when one doesn't have a set schedule. Sometimes people don't realize they're taking advantage, but that is exactly what is going on. Sadly, resentment can then build. At least for me.

    I just know you're going to blossom by calling some time to be your own.

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  15. Tuesday
    Thursday
    Yours . . .
    Bravo . . .

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  16. hi sarah, i had to smile when i read your post today ... it is so true and bravo to you for carving out time for yourself. Just this week someone i know got engaged ... she promptly told everyone that i was doing her centerpieces and photography! She had not even asked me!!! When she does, i think you might guess what my answer will be :~)

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  17. Can so relate to this Sarah!! I need to follow your lead here.

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  18. So proud of you, Mom! Like I said earlier this week, my new answer to when people ask what I want to do moving forward: "be like my mom". Love you beyond words.

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  19. Excellent post. Boundaries are so important, we teach our children to have them, yet somehow we forget them for ourselves.

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  20. Sounds like you've found your word for 2016!

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  21. I have actually been thinking about the same thing as the new year approaches. You said it perfectly, since I don't technically have a 9 to 5 job my time is taken for granted. I feel guilty for 'playing' and do other 'important' things first and squeeze in my creative time if there is any time left. (Which my blog has been suffering for) But like Brene Brown said, I need to value my time and creative work first before I can expect anyone else to. Great post, you put into words exactly how I was feeling. Thank you!

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  22. Good for you. And yes, you will get paid for your work...get it out there!

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  23. Hi Sarah! We must be on similar wavelengths - for 2016 I, too, have decided to block out time for Creativity. And, to carry my "real" camera with me, all the time. And maybe, just maybe post a photo beyond Instagram. So much going on - and then the house thinks it needs to be cleaned or food wants to be cooked or assembled. Sheesh!

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  24. Sounds like you're on your way. I think this is an issue we all grapple with.

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