How to set boundaries for peak productivity

Today I’m sharing 3 hacks that’ll get you into peak productivity mode… by setting boundaries.

These are tips you can apply immediately. 

You might want to grab a pen and paper to go through the exercises and take notes.

I’m all about getting shiz done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
In fact, I’ve been in several Clubhouse rooms lately where the topic of productivity has been coming up over and over again.
(PS: Are you on Clubhouse? Find me on there – @hayleyhobson – it’s pretty much my new fav thing.)
Sometimes boundaries get broken that impact productivity.

I say this not to make you feel attacked or ashamed.
I say it because it means you have POWER to change it.
It’s fully in your control whether you allow boundaries to be crossed repeatedly when it comes to your productivity.
Because there ARE healthy habits when it comes to getting all your shiz done… and done well.
I like to call it “Habit Hygiene.” 
Before I dig into the 3 hacks…
What Are Boundaries?
Boundaries are basic guidelines of how you want to be treated.

And here’s my hot take on this…

Boundaries also apply to how you treat yourself.

Because lemme tell ya… the easiest promise to break is the one you make to yourself.

Especially for women.

But you are the #1 person you need to set boundaries with.

Not your kids.

Not your husband or partner.

Not your mom or your boss.

You need to set boundaries with yourself and treat them as you would anyone else you respect and value.

(Ok, rant over, LOL).

Boundaries are the guidelines of how you allow yourself to be treated.

And when your boundaries are crossed, it isn’t always the other person’s fault.
They may not know they crossed a boundary.

Especially if YOU don’t know what your boundaries are.

So grab your notebook if you haven’t already... we’re digging into the good stuff.

How to Set Boundaries for Peak Productivity

Hack #1: Spell out your boundaries.

Are you clear on your boundaries?

Are you clear on WHY they’re your boundaries?

Your core values influence your boundaries.

If you’re unsure of your core values, you’re going to love this exercise.

Here’s one way to start:

Think about someone who really pushes your buttons because they’re super flakey.

  1. They don’t follow through on promises or commitments.
  2. They’re masters at ghosting.
  3. They always have excuses.
With this person in mind, think about your response when he or she turns their flakiness in your direction
Do negative emotions rise up? (Mad, irritated, frustrated, or the secret weapon of moms everywhere… *disappointed*).
Do you drop your expectations lower than the mid-90s low rise jeans that are trying to make a comeback?

Do you find yourself trying to work around them? 
Like, if you need to be somewhere at 3:00, you tell them to be there at 2:30.
I’m going to show you how to figure out WHY this flakiness bothers you.
You’re going to ask yourself “Why?” until you don’t really have anything else come up. 
(Usually it’s 5ish WHYs to get to the foundation.)
Here’s an example:
Kelly was late to your appointment. AGAIN.
And you’re annoyed AF.
You ask yourself: WHY?
Your first reaction might be: “Well, it’s rude.”
Ok… WHY?
“It feels like she’s disrespecting me.”
“Because it seems like she thinks what she’s doing is more important than me.”
“Because I don’t feel important.”
Ah, there ya go.
Over time, you’ll likely see a pattern emerge.
Maybe you discover that Thoughtfulness is a core value of yours.
Or Integrity – doing what you say you’re going to do.
Lack of Trust is a big one that shows up when you feel a boundary being broken.
So how does this play into productivity?
Well, some are obvious, like Kelly here.
She was late to the meeting, which means you’re either going to be impacting what’s next on your calendar, or you won’t get everything done in your time together.
But some things are a little less obvious.
Like, if your boundaries get broken it can throw you off your game big time…
Even cause an emotional reaction that takes you out of your flow.
Which impacts your productivity.
Hack #2: Communicate your boundaries effectively.
Here’s your Pro Tip on how to do this…
Use “I” statements.
Let’s go back to “always-late-for-meetings” Kelly.
Instead of saying something like, “You are always late...”
You would use an “I” statement.

“I feel I’m unimportant to you when you’re late.”

Here’s why it works:

Using “you” statements is virtually guaranteed to put the other person on the defensive.

But using “I” statements explains your experience and feelings, which is harder to argue with.

Communicating your boundaries using “I” statements takes a little practice, which is why I’m a huge fan of journaling.

Practice getting clear on your “I” statement by writing variations of how the boundary-breaking impacts you. 

An additional step to “I” statements is to include a suggested solution and/or consequence.

  • “I” statement: “I feel I’m unimportant to you when you’re late.”

  • “I” statement with solution: “I feel I’m unimportant to you when you’re late. I’d like for you to arrive on time for our meetings and communicate if you’lll be late again.”

  • “I” statement with solution and consequence: “I feel I’m unimportant to you when you’re late. I’d like for you to arrive on time for our meetings and communicate if you’ll be late again. I may need to reschedule with you or charge you $100 for the meeting if this happens.”

Communication isn’t just verbal or written.

You do it with your behavior too.

Which is why you need to communicate your boundaries by modeling them.

If you say, “I work until 6pm, Monday through Friday” then you need to adhere to that.

Not only for yourself, but to set expectations for others.

If you say you only work until 6, but your behavior says that you’re available 24/7…

Then you’re training people to listen to your behavior… NOT your words.

Which is a major disconnect – and causes problems down the line.

(Sorry for the tough love here, but it’s for your own good. #momvibes)

Hack #3: Develop a system.

(I mean, you HAD to know I’d have a “system” in here, right? LOL)

This is an approach to your to-do list that comes from productivity expert, David Allen.

It’s called the 4 Ds:

  • Do it.
  • Defer it.
  • Delegate it.
  • Drop it.

Wanna know one of the biggest symptoms of having your productivity boundaries broken repeatedly?


Burnout is mostly mental and emotional fatigue, in my opinion.

I hear this a lot from entrepreneurs (especially ones in the first couple years of their biz):

“I think I need help in my business but…”

  • “...I’m too busy to find someone.”
  • “ will take too long to train them.”
  • “’s probably easier to do everything myself.”

Lemme tell ya: when you get to the point you say this, you’re way past the time you should have brought on help. #truthbomb

The secret that successful people know is…

The time you invest in training someone will pay you back ten-fold once they’re up and running.

So here’s how to step into this and how it relates to communicating your boundaries – and improving your productivity.

Step 1: Make a list of all the tasks you regularly do.

Star the ones that are either in your zone of genius or move your business forward.

Things that grow your biz, not stay in place.

All those unstarred tasks? 

Those can come off your plate using the 4 Ds method.

Step 2: Reorg your tasks through the 4D filter.

“DO IT” Tasks
Take less than two minutes. 

(And a real two minutes – not the “two minutes” you tell your kid when she wants you to get off the phone with your bestie who has hot gossip to spill.) LOL

I’ll add to this concept with a spin of my own.

I see “do it” tasks as ones that are in your zone of genius or drive your biz forward.

Things that require you and only you to do it.

⭐Some of your starred tasks may fall into this category.

Take longer than two minutes and you’re the right person to do them.

Allen recommends putting “defer it” tasks on a list of follow up actions, or in your calendar to be completed at a more convenient time.

My addition to this tip is to put your “defer it” tasks into your calendar timeblocks.

We cover this in depth in Habit Hackers, but time blocking is where you designate specific chunks of time (less than two hours) on your calendar for similar tasks.

For example:

Your block could be responding to emails every day from 3-4pm.

Or a twice-a-week content block like I have, where I commit two hours to writing, editing, and reviewing my biz content.

This majorly improves productivity.

AND it helps with boundaries.

⭐The bulk of your starred tasks will likely fall into this section.

Need to be done but aren’t necessarily your responsibility to complete. 

These tasks can be handled by someone else, which frees you up to grow your biz..

They may even enjoy it more or do it better than you.

I regularly delegate things like:
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Meal prep.
  • Cleaning.
  • Scheduling appointments, meetings, and calls.
  • Accounting.
  • Dog baths. Ugh, Xander’s getting a little stinky, so this one is on my mind right now LOL.

Not to mention loads of biz tasks I delegate now that I have a team.

Delegating tasks free you up from the grind – and get you into a space of productivity and growth.

⭐Many of your unstarred tasks will fall into this category.

“DELETE IT” Tasks.
The shiz that just doesn’t matter but takes up energy and space.

You know all those unread emails in your inbox?

They’re probably not important or timely.

I bet you can delete the majority of them.

Seeing that number get bigger and bigger each day you don’t deal with it zaps your energy and productivity without you even knowing it.

Do a big cleanup and then maintain it.

As for other things that suck your energy?

Delete. Mute. Unsubscribe. Defriend.

Whatever your version of “delete it” means for the thing that’s killing your productivity. 

Make it part of your regular “habit hygiene”.

⭐ Anything leftover on your unstarred list is probably in this category.

You may be carrying fear about deleting things, but I promise that if they’re actually important, they’ll come back up.

Step 3: Edit your tasks (and life) with confidence.
Now that you have your newly organized list, actually use it.

Your productivity – and refreshed sense of strong healthy boundaries – will thank you.

How to Apply Healthy Productivity Boundaries IRL

You may be looking at your notes right like “WTF did I just write? 4 Ds? Whaaaaat? How the heck do I actually do this?”

If this kind of work is up your alley, but you wanna go at a slower pace to REALLY integrate it…

Habit Hackers is the place to be.

This is a private membership community where we take a deep dive into all things productivity, plus other wellness pillars, like…

  • Nutrition.
  • Rest.
  • Stress reduction.

And alllll the things that go into those areas.

  • Fitness.
  • Restful sleep.
  • Mental health.
  • Getting more done with less effort.
  • Biz growth.
  • Financial abundance.
  • Holistic health.

I invite you to check out the group and see if it’s something you’d enjoy.

Each month we focus on a theme.

This month’s theme is productivity…

So these kinds of tips are in the group right now – and we’re all working on them together.

March is focused on nutrition.

How to get all your nutrients in when you have a jam-packed schedule...

...When you’re on a budget.

...When you’ve got a fam or other people in your household you need to keep up with.

Because I KNOW it’s hard to make changes with all of these factors in play.

When you keep changes simple and small, it creates momentum… and soon you’ll be mastering holistic wellness.

Which, yes, includes productivity and business aspects of your life.

To get all the details, go to:

I’ll see ya online.


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