Boundaries really stretch in three directions: the ones you set for yourself, with your co-workers, and with your boss. Guidelines teach people how to treat us, plus, as we honor our word to ourselves, we create a bedrock of self-trust. Of course, the key to benefiting from your boundaries is to consistently observe them.
To both prevent burnout and honor your own space if you’re in a physical office, consider always taking a lunch hour and eating away from your desk. This can be hard if you’re under a deadline or feel you “must” overdeliver or catch up, but rest actually works better for high-quality productivity than grinding away and neglecting yourself. Choose not to answer work emails past a certain hour, say 6 pm or 7 pm, and stick to it. Set “away” messages when you’re not available, for instance in Slack. And if you’re not available, don’t answer a ping! To eliminate co-worker interruptions during a focused work session, you might wear noise-canceling headphones.
Unless you’re at a start-up and have chosen an exciting, but often rule-free, wild west environment, stick with your defined work hours and don’t work over the weekend unless it’s by special agreement for a project. Another office boundary: avoid gossip or negativity. That’s how toxic environments get built, and you don’t want it to bite you later. If you proactively tell your boss how you’d like to get feedback, you’re being transparent and building respect.