Keeping boundaries with people is something I have been struggling with most of my life. It is difficult for me to say "No" when someone asks me for a favor. I feel that it is my responsibility to help everybody and try to solve problems for them. However, I want to help others in a healthier way, where I do not put too much stress on myself. For this reason, I decided to create a plan for prioritizing my activities and deciding whether or not I should say "yes" to collaborate in a situation. My husband showed me this and it’s from Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
Identifying how urgent and important a situation is helps me to take actions accordingly. For example, my mom texts me saying how worried she feels because she needs to do something for her work and she does not know how to do it on her computer, I think in this way: she is my mom, and for that reason, her problems are important to me and she says this is urgent so I will make it urgent for me and I do prioritize doing it now since it’s urgent and important.
If the situation happens again, this is where boundaries come in. If I classify this as important but not urgent, I can tell her I have other responsibilities at this moment but I am willing to prioritize a time that works for me so I can teach her how to solve the problem on her own in the future. Teaching her how to handle this herself will prevent more urgent texts from happening in the future.
If she texts again expecting me to do this, I can classify this urgent and not important. Depending on how I feel, I can communicate that I can help her only if all of my urgent/important and not urgent/important priorities are done or say no straight away if I choose.
Having boundaries between people and me when necessary is part of developing emotional intelligence. Making the right decisions in my everyday life helps me to live more peacefully, improve my productivity, and to be able to help others in a better way. When I do not feel pressured to do favors, but I decide to do them from a wholehearted place, I can search for better solutions or come up with more creative ideas.