Monthly Musing – January 2023 – Boundaries

“We need to have a conversation about boundaries,” said my husband.

Uh oh.  This did not sound like a conversation that was going to be fun.

“We need to talk about your boundaries,” he said, and that sounded like it was going to be even less fun.

Once he explained, though, it all made perfect sense.  I work from home and it’s not uncommon for me to be doing more than one thing at once, and because I can organise my time for myself, it’s also not uncommon for me to be writing a blog post late at night, for example, or only just sitting down to knit at 9pm because I’ve been doing other things during the day.  I’ve worked like this for a long time and generally, it suits me fine.

However, I can’t deny that recently the boundaries between work and home life have become distinctly blurred and that can make it difficult to switch off.  There’s always one more thing to check, one more job to do and despite my best intentions, I have often found myself falling into the trap of trying to tick off everything on the to-do list instead of leaving something for another day.

My wise Canadian uncle has a couple of sayings that we regularly use in our family: one is “the graveyard is full of indispensable people” and the other is “the in-tray is never empty”.  I had been forgetting both of them and it wasn’t until the beginning of the New Year when my husband and I were looking at his calendar for the coming weeks, something that we have been doing now for some time as we have found that my impartial eye over his appointments has really helped to make sure his day is balanced, that he suggested that he do the same for me and it seemed like a good idea.

It’s been a great idea and now, the boundaries between work and home are much more defined in my days.  Far from finding it constricting as I expected that I would do, it’s been wonderful to give myself permission to walk away from something if I’m not finished (and there’s no immediate deadline).  My time is split between creative and administrative tasks, there are lunch breaks and tea breaks built in, time to sit and knit or even just to sit and noodle on ideas.  Surprisingly to me, the in-tray has been going down far faster even though it might not feel as if I am spending as much time on it, and apart from the odd occasion, after dinner I am finished with work and my evenings are spent with yarn and needles in my hands far earlier than I’ve previously been used to.

I’ve written about time many times on the blog and how flexible it is, how it bends and flows depending on what we are doing, but I had never really experienced before how time can work so well in your favour when it is contained within boundaries.  Previously, boundaries had felt like something to be broken free from, to escape and to ignore, but for now at least, they are supporting my days and keeping me afloat and I am grateful that my husband thought to have that conversation with me.

Perhaps the magic is in talking through your calendar with someone else but whatever the reason, pushing boundaries, at least where my diary is concerned, feels like a thing of the past!


An open planner showing a blank page spread. There's a black pencil lying across the pages



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8 Responses

  1. Geeha says:

    wise words indeed, glad to read that you and your husband can discuss such things and find blessings

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, it’s taken us quite a while to get to this stage (I don’t like when I think people are telling me what to do!) but it’s working very well now 🙂 xx

  2. ANNE says:

    I love your blog and I can now knit socks. I enjoy very much when you review books. I wanted to purchase the knitting technique book reviewed not long ago, I can’t find the link. please please help

  3. SARAH MURRAY says:

    What a wonderful post (as ever). I love that saying ‘the in-tray is never empty’. I’m going to remember that one. Sarah xxx

    • winwickmum says:

      It’s true, though, isn’t it? I forget so many times and then when that saying pops into my head, I’m all “yep, that’s true – now stop!” Works every time! 🙂 xx

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