As an entrepreneur, I have had the benefit (drawback?) of making my own schedule. What started out as a luxury soon spiraled into a nagging feeling that the world would come to an end if I disconnect. I felt (feel…) the need to check my phone, respond to emails and look at social media at any and all hours of the day and night.
Leave my phone at home? Sounds good in theory, but I have teenagers so I must be accessible. Get a dedicated personal phone? Too complicated, I can barely keep track of the one phone I have. So what to do?
Since my brand was acquired I actually have a boss so I know first-hand what it is like to get an email at 10 pm at night and feel the overwhelming need to respond immediately. Once I realized how people I work with may feel when I send emails during non-business hours, I knew it was time for a change. If you are the boss, you can mandate these changes. If you are not the boss, you can put these tips into practice and hopefully start a trend in your workplace.
If you have trained your clients, employees and employers to expect an immediate response from you, simply implementing these steps without advance warning, is not a good idea. Email or speak to them personally to let them know your intentions. For the first few months turn on your out-of-office email response at end-of-day, to let people know when you will be available. Make a new recording on your phone, letting everyone know when they can expect a call back.
Save non-business hours for thoughtful work, you know those tasks that require your full attention. If you do need to respond to emails, refer to number 2 above, but realize this is probably not the most productive use of non-business hours.Things like getting organized, reviewing reports, creative brainstorming, research and even hand-written correspondence are excellent tasks to complete during non-business hours.
When you're feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty getting started, it helps to make a list. Get all that stuff in your mind down on paper. Limit yourself to one line per item, if you have a due date include that next to the item. Don't worry about priority or additional detail at this time, just get it on paper. Once you've finished, group items into categories by priority, then type, for example errands, calls, urgent, etc. Relief will come as you work through the list and cross things off. To read past Quick Tips click here