With the advent of social media; the boundary between the personal life and professional life is diminishing rapidly. Sometimes, you just don’t want to discuss the nitty-gritty of your life with your co-workers. Similarly, you may find it hard to discuss your professional difficulties with your family and friends. To tackle this you need to balance your personal and professional life.
It is just not that simple and easy to balance your personal and professional life.
Here’s how we can establish the balance.
Ascertain Your Boundaries
You need to think long and hard beforehand what aspects of your life would you like discussing or not discussing. We’re all different. What makes one person comfortable can make another one uncomfortable.
Start by identifying some of the main things people do at work that make you feel uncomfortable.
Would you rather not be called or disturbed at home after a certain time?
Does it bother you when your colleagues gossip about your boss or other employees?
Would you prefer not to discuss your religion, finances or kids at work?
Establish Your Boundaries Politely But Firmly
Once you’ve ascertained your personal boundaries, you need to politely and clearly communicate these to your managers and co-workers. If you’ve never set boundaries at work before, you’ll probably feel a little uneasy at first. But as long as you remain polite and professional, clearly outlining your boundaries will prevent any misunderstandings.
For eg: if your colleagues talks about something that makes you uneasy, communicate your boundaries by saying something like “I’m sorry, that’s private,” or “I am not comfortable discussing this at work.”
It’s always better to be clear about your boundaries early. As ignoring it could eventually lead to feelings of resentment.
Differentiate Your Social Media
If you want to separate your professional life from your personal ones, it’s a good idea to keep them separate online as well. The easiest way to avoid overlap is to use different social networking sites for different purposes.
For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are used mostly for connecting and developing your professional network. Whereas Facebook is better suited for sharing photos and news with your family and friends.
Of course, it’s important to communicate these preferences to your contacts as well. So if a colleague or client sends you a friend request on Facebook, you could politely explain that you use your Facebook account for staying in touch with close friends and family, then invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn or Twitter instead.
Similarly, if friends or family members share personal information or photos of you on the networks you’re trying to use for professional connections, you should let them know that you’d prefer to use Facebook for personal interactions.
Accept That The Two Will Overlap
Because our work and private lives are so interconnected, fully separating them isn’t realistic.
Instead of trying to completely separate your private life from your work life, try and find a comfortable balance between the two.
It’s expected that questions about your kids, marital status, finances or personal hobbies will come up sometimes when you’re at work. Rather than letting this stress you out, decide in advance how much you’re comfortable sharing with your co-workers.
Once you accept that your work and private life will in some ways always be connected, you’ll be able to manage both areas.
It is important to balance your personal and professional life.
Decide in advance how much of it are you willing to discuss at work. And steer your conversation towards neutral topics should someone cross the line.
This will send a clear message to your friends and colleagues to not venture into topics that you are not comfortable discussing.
Do comment below as to how you establish your boundaries in personal and professional lives?
Such a helpful article! Boundaries are so important, and I agree with your suggestion to separate personal from professional social media accounts.
Thank you for your kind comment. Glad you liked it.
Boundaries are so important!
Yes. They are. Thank you for your kind comment.
Great post! Personal life and professional balance is even harder now after working from home for so long
Thank you for your kind comment. Glad you liked it
This is something I really struggle with! I work from home and around school times so I feel like I never switch off. Great tips though, which I’ll definitely try and implement as boundaries are so important!
Yes. Boundaries are very important. Thank you for your kind comment.