How I Argued With My Boss To Protect My Morning Lifestyle
Not enforcing boundaries is how you become a universal doormat.
Establishing boundaries is not about removing people from your life. It’s about allowing only those souls who make you feel good about yourself with positive energy.
The initial step to respecting your interpersonal boundaries is to get over the people-pleasing attitude. It isn’t easy, but once you do it with a single person, the habit starts to grow in you.
A similar situation surfaced at my first job in 2019: I was about to enjoy the unparalleled benefits of the morning lifestyle, and my manager thought I was slacking at work.
#1. Defend your ideals.
There is a lifelong debate about which kind of lifestyle is best: morning, evening, or spontaneous. The answer depends on your health goals and if you can change your environment to work like the person you want to become.
But the most obvious benefit I have found in the morning lifestyle is the extended period of uninterrupted time. It gives a weird sense of freedom that sometimes you don’t think you deserve, but desperately needed.
Imagine getting around four hours where you can do whatever you want without anyone peeking in your space. Yes, walking naked is also included.
That’s where I clarified to my manager why I couldn’t stay late at work. I know! I’m about to receive a bullet in my head.
Because of international clients, I had meetings at 11 pm, but my bedtime of 10 pm didn’t agree. I came up with a middle ground and told my seniors I would attend the second meeting at 9 am in my timezone. They were so happy with my suggestion — because my new timing was suitable for them — that they agreed to relieve me from the 11 pm meeting.
#2. Boundaries exist for your mental health.
Despite the assertion of clear boundaries about not working late, I still saw my co-workers with their eyes peeled open until midnight, even when they dreaded it.
The result? Eventually, they left the company after me — one by one.
Boundaries are there because they control the level of toxicity and positivity other people can influence in your life.
If we don’t establish boundaries, it shows we don’t value our time. Then how can we expect others to respect our time?
It further leads to people walking all over us. And before we realise it in hindsight, we become a live definition of the human version of a doormat.
#3. Self-awareness affects your tribe.
The impact of my discussion with my manager wasn’t limited to my work-life balance itself. It slowly sparked a low-key revolution in my co-workers because they also wanted to voice their thoughts about certain limits imposed on them in the name of productivity and incentives.
Not everyone from my company is in touch with me. But those who are, are in a better place. Because they finally listened to their gut which was silenced for a long time in the race to become the model employee.
Self-awareness helps you quit the people-pleasing attitude because it shows you the only person who needs pleasing is your future self — the person you want to become in five years. The person who amplifies the definition of what a meaningful life looks like for you.
Once you start listening to the only person on your side, no matter your situation, you can look up to them for the correct answer when you feel stuck, especially when no one is around to help you.
Visualisation is a powerful technique to manifest your goals and materialise them. When I joined my first job in 2019, my goal was to get control of my life and escape the trap of my parents dictating me what to do (and how to do it).
When I saw the morning lifestyle work wonders for me, I did everything I could to maintain it until it didn’t feel tedious anymore.
I’ve had sour discussions with my friends also when I sometimes don’t show up for late nights. But slowly, they have started to respect my decision, and if I say no, they don’t take it as a sign of anti-social behaviour.
Establishing boundaries is daunting when you have to choose between your mental sanity and your relationship with people. But once you start looking with a long-term vision, you will begin to prioritise decisions that align with your purpose, rather than clinging to what feels rewarding in the present ( but eventually leaves you with regret ).
“Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.”
— Anne Frank
If you want to receive more stories like this, my lifelong learning newsletter is for you.
Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, health, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students or writing articles, he’s sweating in a workout, PC gaming, or playing 8-ball pool. You can also find him on Twitter and Instagram.