Setting Boundaries: When to Say Yes and How to Say No

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Establishing boundaries is one of the best ways to preserve your emotional energy and define who and what you allow in your life. And, the good news is setting boundaries is a skill that can be learned and practiced.

Here are some actionable tips and hacks from former Media Executive, Speaker, and Author,  Fran Hauser, to help you get more comfortable with setting boundaries and protecting your valuable time without feeling guilty.

  1. It’s hard to set boundaries if you don’t know what you’re setting boundaries around. Use the Four Square Method to identify four key areas in your life and pick 2-3 priorities for each one. Then, try to make sure 70-80% of your time is spent on these priorities.

  2. Create a "To-Don’t Do” list. Be really intentional about the things you aren’t going to do.

  3. Be thoughtful, intentional and strategic when saying “Yes!”

  4. If you’re going to say no – keep it short and sweet. Create a canned, ready-to-send, email response for saying “No!” Don’t feel bad about it – it’s not personal.

  5. When setting boundaries with your boss, have an open and honest conversation and come prepared with ideas on what to de-prioritize, extend the deadline or include others to help get the task done.

  6. When you know you are going on vacation, keep the week before pretty open in terms of meetings and events so you have time to handle whatever comes up that needs to be done before you leave.

  7. Create and communicate a Boundaries Plan – include your work hours, best ways and times to communicate with you and when you do your best work.

  8. Be honest about blocking out time to focus and do not try to multitask.

  9. Set availability expectations with managers, employees and customers up front. If they know ahead of time, they can work around your schedule.


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