Oh no. It’s happened again. You’ve been on holiday and now you don’t want to work.

You can’t face the idea of opening your inbox to a million notifications that aren’t really your problem.

The snooze button is getting more of a workout than you did in the whole of 2020.

So what do you do when you don’t want to go back to work?

I mean, you COULD just quit your job (because you can do literally anything you want in this life, legit).

But before you set fire to your income, I have another solution: set better workplace boundaries.

You might not hate your job as much as you think after reading the 7 simple workplace boundaries in this blog post!

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Why you don’t want to work – the non-fluffy reason

Truth time – there are some people who work 80 hours a week without burning out.

So why are you working 9-5 and STILL don’t want to work?

There are two options.

Either you are in the wrong job and it doesn’t light you up enough (in which case you need to ask whether you should quit)


You just need better boundaries at work.

Often my clients actually DO love their job, so when they tell me they don’t want to go to work, I always ask if they like their job.

One of my clients really enjoyed her job (and was DAMN good at it), but she was thinking about quitting because they kept asking her to work shifts at the last second.

After working together, she learnt how to say NO without feeling guilty, realized how much she was worth to the company, and ended up getting a promotion! All while having an amazing social life and starting up old hobbies she was too tired to do before setting boundaries.

7 Workplace Boundaries For When You Don’t Want To Work

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Workplace Boundary #1 for When You Don’t Want to Work- Say no to extra shifts and over time

One of the fastest ways to resent work is to take on extra tasks when you are already burnt out.

It is much easier to be a team player and step up to challenges when you are a little bit selfish first! Taking time for yourself will make you feel more human and ultimately enjoy your job a lot more in the long run.

Be selfish now, step up later.

#2 – Turn off email notifications

I’m serious. Turn that shit off.

Unless you are on call, there is no conceivable reason for you to be answering (or even THINKING about answering) work emails/calls/texts when you are off the clock.

Will it feel like you are going to miss something super important at first? Yes.

Will it be the best thing you do for your mental health all year? Also yes.

Nobody is going to die if you don’t respond after 5pm. And if anybody questions you on it, feel free to question whether you are in a toxic work environment that praises burnout.

work life balance daily planner download link

#3 – Only work at work

This boundary goes hand in hand with tip #2. If you are paid to work X number of hours per week, you are legally allowed to shut your brain off when you are not in the office.

You are not obligated to

  • Respond to your coworkers emails
  • Think about client work
  • Stress about Karen who needs things done 3 days before the due date

You get to set the standard for how you respond to people. If someone is pushing and wanting an answer immediately (SOMETIMES it actually does need an answer), make sure they know that next time you need a full working day to respond to inquiries.


That way when they get annoyed, you can refer to a past email/conversation where you told them you need X amount of hours to respond with an actual answer.

office space with book on a white wooden table
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#4 – Refresh your job description

Ever said the words “this isn’ in my job description” but do it anyway?

Even though you KNOW it isn’t your job, you feel guilty because you figure nobody will do it if you don’t?


There is a BIG difference between “being a team player” and “taking on extra work because they know you won’t say no”.

Take inventory of what is in your job description, and then when something comes up you can CHOOSE whether you want to step up and help out a coworker OR prioritize your mental health (the ability to choose is KEY in staying sane).

#5 – Take mandated breaks

Ok, I am guilty of just eating ay my desk when I’m trying to get a blog post done (I’m eating breakfast as we speak).

But if you are going to work thinking

“I can’t do this for one more day, I swear I am going to resign”


Boss wants to work through lunch? Too bad, you are legally allowed to take lunch breaks and nobody will die in the next half hour.

Co-workers want to talk during a tea break? Too bad, you are going to take a moment for yourself and go get a coffee.

This is a super simple workplace boundary that will keep you sane while you put the rest of the boundaries in place.

Make sure you do this one even if you feel guilty from stepping away from your desk!

friends who don't want to work hanging out after work
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#6- Prioritize your personal life

Everyone says the want work life balance strategies- which means you need to schedule LIFE.

If you have a super clear to do list for work, but nothing scheduled in between, you don’t have work life balance. You have an efficient way of controlling your work time.

That’s why this is the most important work life strategy if you can’t face another year of hating Mondays.

When you are scheduling out your week, ask yourself:

  • What am I doing this week that is fun?
  • What hobbies have I scheduled?
  • How much time am I giving my partner?
  • Will I have enough energy to enjoy that party?

This will set up your priorities for the week.

If you put these in your schedule FIRST, when the boss asks if you can stay late you have an easy NO because you already have plans (and if you quit plans because you can’t say no without feeling guilty, message me about 1:1 boundaries coaching ASAP).

#7 – Ignore peer pressure

If you are going to start enjoying work again, you need to put yourself first. That means ignoring peer pressure when other people want you to do things.

Got a boss or coworker that actively makes you feel guilty for saying no to extra work?

Just remember:

  • You are the only one that has to live with you burnout
  • Your mental and physical health is more important than any job
  • They are probably benefitting from your lack of boundaries so it’s normal for them to react negatively when you put boundaries in place

Just because it feels wrong to say no, it doesn’t mean that it IS wrong.

Which of these workplace boundaries are you going to put in place first?

Let me know in the comments or message me directly lucy@lucybekker.com – I love hearing from you!