Most of us who work in nonprofits do so because of the intrinsic reward of investing in a cause we are passionate about. If you have ever worked in a nonprofit you know it’s certainly not for the money! In relationship to this passion we are often also found working way more than we should pushing the limits of burnout.

When you work for a nonprofit or a ministry it is often difficult to draw the line between work and your personal life. After all, you are doing this out of a personal passion. But it is critical to your health and the health of your organization that you be deliberate about setting appropriate work/life boundaries. Many of us have to learn not to take work home. This does not only include the actual tasks we are responsible for but also the stress that comes with work. As a counselor I had to learn this early in my career. Taking work tasks or stress home with me will only decrease my productivity at work and decrease my productivity at home.

One of the problems is that most of us do not separate the “urgent” from the “important”. For example, most of us feel that we need to reply to emails immediately when the reality is that most emails are not important yet we view them as urgent.

Prioritizing is a good place to start. Decide to work on the important instead of the urgent. It will also help to set boundaries on the hours in your day. For example, when you get home put your phone in the other room. Let coworkers know that you will not be replying to texts unless they indicate that it is an emergency. Leave a voicemail outgoing message that says you will get back to them within 24 hours. Set up your email to give an automated response that you will reply within 48 hours. Use the technology you have to help maintain appropriate boundaries while still allowing others to receive an immediate response so that they still feel valued.

When you’re at home be at home, when you’re at work be at work. Try to keep clear boundary lines between the two. You will be more productive at work and more satisfied at home.