Find yourself wondering why your to-do list never gets any shorter? What’s stopping you from checking off those looming tasks? One culprit is people who unintentionally derail your attack on your list of stuff to get done. Time to set boundaries.

Here are three important rules to set for yourself when faced with a to-do list that won’t stop (you can also watch my video on this topic on #askammie on YouTube).

1. Set boundaries.

Some people unwisely adjust their boundaries for different people or different situations. However, it’s important to understand that boundaries provide a work-life balance. Negotiable boundaries don’t work.

2. Set priorities for yourself and STICK to them.

There can be a million interruptions in a day. If you’re in a role like mine, you’re dealing with people asking for little things every single day. Develop the ability to ruthlessly defer a lower priority in favor of a higher one.

3. Analyze your disruptions.

Who are the most common disruptors and what are they throwing at you? Pay close attention to interruptions over the next week and see if any patterns emerge. Use your data to identify areas where your boundaries need strengthening and with whom.

All of this is easier said than done, To be completely honest with you, sticking to the plan takes discipline from you. No one else is going to train people how to treat you. You must make a commitment to yourself. You must cultivate the level of self-awareness that allows you to recognize what derails you and then build the appropriate fences around your time.

Look. I know that you’re a giver and a problem solver. That means that naturally, you want to help people and help them remove their obstacles. But the truth is, you cannot prioritize everyone else’s needs above your own. You and your time are important and you need to remind yourself of this often — daily or hourly if you have to.

If you haven’t heard it from anyone else today, know that YOU are important.

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