Job stress has escalated immensely over the past few decades. If you sometimes feel overwhelmed and overloaded, you’re not alone. Fortunately, you can set healthy boundaries at work and push back against the rising wave of anxiety.

Caroline Castrillon, founder of Corporate Escape Artist, says that by establishing healthy boundaries, you can work smarter, gain respect and boost your productivity. We share her 10 tips for how to do it in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Seek help. To set boundaries at work, Castrillon recommends seeking advice from your boss. Create a list of things you believe you are accountable for and ask your boss to do the same. This is often an eye-opening exercise because there are usually discrepancies in the two lists.

2. Conduct an audit. Beyond simply approaching your boss, conducting a boundary audit can go a long way in providing clarity around where you need to set limits. Start by becoming more aware of those people and situations that cause you stress and anxiety, says Castrillon.

3. Set limits. Once you have an idea of the areas where you need to focus, start setting limits. One example could be not checking work email in the evenings between 6-9 pm so you can focus on family time. Another may be to let your manager know that you need advance notice of work-related travel so that you can plan your family vacation and other days off.

4. Communicate clearly. Once you set limits, you need to communicate them to your team clearly and confidently. For instance, if you don’t want your team members to contact you at all hours, Castrillon recommends telling them exactly when you will be available for work conversations.

5. Delegate more. Being a good leader means delegating. If you are expected to do the work of 50 people and feel overwhelmed with projects, chances are you’re not doing a good job of delegating work. Learn to let go, trust your team and play to their strengths.

6. Take time to respond. Castrillon suggests learning the art of pausing before committing to a project or request. This technique will give you a chance to check-in with yourself to determine whether you have a conflict. If needed, buy yourself time and say, “that might work, let me just check my schedule and get back to you.”

7. Practice saying no. Look for easy, low-risk situations in which to practice saying no. Say no when your waitress offers you dessert. Say no to the street vendor offering to sell you something.

8. Develop a system. Sort through your to-do list and address each task in one of four ways: do it, defer it, delegate it, drop it. Tackle each issue only once and move on to the next.

9. Create structure. If you find yourself sucked into long, drawn-out meetings, create structure by establishing an agenda. This puts you in control and positions you as a leader.

10. Prepare for pushback. Once you start establishing healthy boundaries, you can expect others to react negatively. This is a sign that the boundary is necessary and that it’s working effectively, says Castrillon.

For you and your team to be happy and productive, it’s crucial to set boundaries. Start setting your limits by following the tips above.

Source: Caroline Castrillon is founder of Corporate Escape Artist. She’s also a business and life coach who helps people find fulfillment through career transition and entrepreneurship.