Lovely limitations

Many years ago, The Nester wrote a 31-day series on lovely limitations.

To be honest, I had never thought of limitations as lovely before that but I’ve since come to see the beauty of having boundaries – physical, time-bound, and digital limitations.

They force you to be more creative with what you have, and for an upholder like me, I love having some self-imposed rules.


If you have a basket to store magazines, the basket is your boundary. Ideally (and something I LOVE) is using the physical boundary to help me make decisions to declutter. When the basket is too small for the magazines, I declutter til they fit again.

I’m definitely better about this in some areas than others – I have small bathroom and kitchen cabinets so I see it as a goal to see how little I can get away with keeping, especially for consumables like toiletries and food.

I’m always working on mugs and glasses 😉

Some ideas for physical boundaries in the home? Baskets, trays, bowls, plastic containers. If you’re not yet following me on Instagram, check out the page anyway because I share many on-the-go solutions in my very own home. And I save many of them in my highlights (the circles under my bio).


I do something with meetings which is a lovely limitation. If I have a meeting in an hour’s time, I might make a meeting with a new client in the hour before that to keep us both on track and so that I have a legit reason to leave a meeting promptly. I’m an extrovert so it’s very easy for me to get chatty.

You can do this with personal events too. Make a tea date with a friend that has a hard end time. I find that I’m much more likely to want to keep up with recurring dates if my dates are 1.5 – 2 hours in length.


This happened purely by chance. I had an iPhone with only 16 GB of storage space. Because it was so limited, I had to delete photos all the time. It was annoying at first but I loved cultivating the habit of the Daily Delete (I first learned of this tip from Becky Higgins). I’ve since upgraded to 64GB of storage but I still do the daily delete and remove my photos every month. It’s a great habit to prevent overwhelm.

I mentioned my upholder tendency above. I made myself a rule that I have to read 4 books from my Kindle every month but I usually read more than 4 Kindle books. I find that that helps to keep my buying of books under control. I automatically stop buying unless I’m reading enough. For the record, up to the end of August, 64% of the books I’ve read have been on Kindle (41 books).

Where do you need some lovely limitations in your home, on your schedule or digitally?

Are your boundaries in place?

There’s been a lot of talk on the internet lately about boundaries.

When I first started teaching about boundaries, it wasn’t as common a subject as it is now. But then it seemed, as with any good thing, boundaries got overused.

We’ve all seen the emails with a blog post’s worth of text in an out of office reminder. That’s either very strong boundary-setting or over the top, depending on the reader.

I told my accountability partner last week that I’d be writing an article about boundaries this week. And then I read two blog posts on the weekend and two things personally happened to me.

I guess I’m meant to write this article.

The best way I know how to describe a boundary is that it denotes an imaginary line drawn where that person’s emotional stuff is on his side of the fence and your stuff is on your side of the fence.

Setting good boundaries requires you to be assertive, not aggressive, respect that things may not go “your way” and that’s okay, but that you have a choice as to how you will then choose to interact with the person.

For example, if someone speaks to you in a way that you find demeaning, the person who has good boundaries would perhaps tell that person, “when you shout at me like that, it makes me feel _____. If you do that again, I’m going to walk away/ put down the phone, etc” and then do it.

You can’t control the person’s behavior but you can control your exposure to it.

Here are two incidents that happened to me in the last 3 days:

Incident 1

city street

Three of us did group personal training sessions for two months last year until I pulled out. You’d think I’d enjoy the group interaction and I do… just not while personal training. I eventually realized that I need (and want) the trainer to solely focus on me – what I’m doing wrong, where I’m battling, encourage and support me 100%. When I pulled out, I decided that if I went back, I’d only do one-on-one sessions. That was my personal boundary.

This year my gym got a new personal trainer. I set my sessions up and arrived last week to find someone else in the session with me. I didn’t make a big deal seeing as it was our first session but it niggled at me until I checked with the trainer and yes, indeed, two other people would be joining one of my two weekly sessions, at a reduced rate for all of us, of course.

I sent one or two more emails on Monday mentioning that I’d booked her for that time first and when I got an email back, I realized this was going to be better spoken about in person. You can always tell these things!

When I went for my session that evening, I had a moment where I wondered if I want to be that person who makes a big deal about everything. Then I realized that this is important to me – getting fit and healthy is one of my biggest goals for the year – and I need to address this issue.

So I did. And it was totally fine. The other ladies are being moved to another day. Success.

Incident 2

I booked a 30-minute massage. I was early enough to be ready on the table on the half-hour. The therapist did the massage, her finishing routine and left the room. I looked at my watch – only 20 minutes had elapsed.

Again I had a decision to make. I didn’t like this therapist’s style – she seemed too rushed and in a hurry to get me done – so I probably wouldn’t go back since I go get massages for relaxation and nothing else. Should I still talk to her about the quick massage?

I’m a believer both that things get easier the more you do them but also that other things get more difficult if you let them slide.

I didn’t want to create a habit where I start shying away from dealing with things so I mentioned to her that the massage was actually only 20, and not 30 minutes. She was most apologetic and told me her watch is probably fast….. that wasn’t the issue for me. I wanted her to know and apologise, which she did.

Hopefully that’s all the boundary-setting I need for the next month or so.

Can you think of one or two circumstances where you feel your boundaries are being overstepped?

Check for the niggle inside of yourself and either deal with it, or choose to not let it bother you anymore if it’s inconsequential.

{Chloe} on simplify your life – week 5

Before I get to this week’s topic, just a quick update about last week’s goals I set for myself:

I had decided to

  • walk with my dog 15 minutes every night
  • clean the dishes after each meal
  • spend 15 minutes daily working on our paperwork so that I could get our finances back under control.

Well, it all went pretty well during the week and I’m really proud of the work I did.

On Friday, I couldn’t do any of those because I had a big event at work in the evening. On Saturday I got a bit lazy but I played catch up on Sunday and all in all it’s been a good week.

Everything went much more smoothly than usual, especially thanks to the clean dishes. There’s always one little thing that can make a tremendous difference in a home: make the bed, pick up the toys every night, get up 15 minutes before the rest of the family… I guess for me it’s cleaning the dishes, and I’m glad I found this “easy button” that makes the rest of the housekeeping easier!

Actually, my house was in such a good shape that I took pix for a home tour, that you can see on my blog here. I’d love to know what you think of my home sweet home! 😉

Okay, onto this week’s topic: boundaries.

For me, this applies mainly to work.

The professional environment is hard to handle because you HAVE to do some things that you don’t always enjoy, but at the same time, you must not abandon all pride and dignity for your job or you’ll go insane.

It’s hard to set limits and at the same time obey the orders that are given to you. In my job, I have two main boundary-related issues:

  1. inappropriate behaviours (aggressive, machist, mean), mostly from colleagues.
  2. not being recognized and respected, or at least not feeling like it, mostly from my bosses.

For the both problems, the solution is the same: I have to speak up in a good (=constructive) way. I must learn when to ignore bad behaviours (some people are hopeless, I must not waste my energy on them) and that telling things that I want or need simply is the best way to get them.

I already made a great step in the right direction a couple weeks ago: I asked my boss for a pay raise. Even though I was terribly scared (I was literally shaking from head to toe), I asked for an appointment and exposed my arguments.

I was calm and confident (or at least I looked like it! LOL). I haven’t gotten the raise yet, but I have good hopes that it will happen soon.

You know what sentence I repeatedly told myself to give me courage to speak up? “The worst that can happen is that he’d say no… it’s not a big deal!!!”

And it worked, I pushed my limits and even if it doesn’t work, at least I have no regrets because I have expressed what I want.

You know the sentence “It goes without saying”? I always reply “but it goes better WITH saying”, so speak up! 😉

Take care!


Chloe, I love this post but more importantly, I love that you took action and spoke up.

It’s so empowering when we start standing up for ourselves and I’m proud of you for doing so!


You have my permission

Hmmm, when I hear the same thing in a number of different places, I stop and pay attention.

This was the second time.

I was listening to Beth’s simple ways to take care of yourself and she mentioned getting a permission buddy.

A permission buddy gives you permission to do those things you don’t want to do, but feel you should. Or to do things you want to do but don’t feel you can do (like relax when the work’s not done *ahem*).

Like… when you don’t want to serve on a committee, go to a party or sign up for extra tasks.

You can say to the person, “I’l get back to you on that because I have to check with someone”

That someone is your permission buddy.

The permission buddy then says, “um, yes, it’s okay to say no” and you go do it happily.

Or when there’s a big pile of dishes or laundry and you really just want to go curl up with a book.

Your permission buddy says, “it’s okay to relax; you need to take care of yourself too”.

Somehow in a lot of us, women especially, there’s a need to get permission before doing something.

Or not.

I encounter this a lot while coaching and find myself saying things like…

“No, you don’t have to do that”

“You are entitled to have ____”

“Yes, it really is okay to not love X aspect of your job”

I just never thought of it as giving permission before.

So for today, I’ll be your permission buddy.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want.

You don’t have to go to any functions you don’t want.

You have my permission 😉

Where do you want to get “permission” to not do, or do things?

Marcia Francois is a time management coach and speaker who helps busy women break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and take purposeful and focussed action. Visit for your free Organising Success Pack.

If you’d like help creating a life you absolutely love, contact me about my coaching services.

Do you have healthy boundaries?

First, let’s talk about what a boundary actually is.

In a physical sense, it’s easy to understand that a boundary marks off where your property starts and where the neighbour’s ends. You are responsible for your property but not for anything that happens on your neighbour’s.

While not as easy to mark off, our emotional boundaries also mark off where our responsibilities start and end. Too many people feel out of control of their lives because they don’t have good boundaries.

Boundaries are like fences in that they keep bad things out and good things in.

This means that you protect yourself from things, people or processes that might hurt you and you nurture things or people that help you.

Notice I said fences and not walls. A wall means that nothing gets through from either side whereas a fence allows flow.

Boundaries are limits or barriers that protect you, your time and your energy.

When your boundaries are well-defined, they help to prevent conflict within your relationships. They are like your personal rules or policies.

Setting boundaries means owning and taking responsibility for your personal choices and the consequences thereof. You make the choice, you take responsibility and you can make a different choice if you don’t like the consequence.

You can’t control other people’s behaviour but you can control the extent to which it affects you. In other words, control your exposure to people.

For example, if you have a boundary that you only work on specific types of projects and a client gets upset about that, that is their issue. You don’t have to explain why you do so although you can if you want 🙂

I recently contacted a virtual assistant to see if she was interested in doing some work for me. She very politely emailed back to say that she doesn’t like to do such work. Well, even though I was slightly disappointed, I replied and told her that I LOVE her strong boundaries. I really do!

What would have happened if she’d taken on the work? She’d probably have hated it and been cross with herself for accepting it.

So how do you know that you have weak boundaries?

Here are some physiological signs:

  • · Knots in your stomach when you agree to do something
  • · Anger and resentment
  • · Deep feeling of dread
  • · Extreme procrastination 😉
  • · Feeling shocked or being appalled at what someone said to you

The first step to creating stronger boundaries is to learn to say no.

Remember if the reaction to your setting boundaries is not great (sulking, anger, nastiness, etc), it’s not about you – it’s about them. That feeling belongs on their side of the “fence”.

Complete these 3 sentences on a piece of paper (or in the comments) with as many statements underneath each as you can think of:

1. People may not… tell crude jokes in front of me
2. I have a right to … ask for help, time off, etc.
3. To protect my time and energy, I choose to do/ not to do  …… more than one social plan every weekend, only 3 hours of work on my business every week day

Those were my examples above. Over to you 🙂

Here’s to setting healthy boundaries!

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