Day 26: Girlfriend, We Got To Talk!

26. Set online times. You don’t always need to be accessible for chit chat. This may be more applicable to telecommuters than the self-employed.

We should all face the facts that we are spoiled. 

 Constant contact is a way of life now and it wasn’t all that long ago that we had to wait for communication.  I know that there may be some reading this blog have never lived in a time without a cell phone, computer or internet. And the young ones actually IM each other while they are sitting next to each other. Please, don’t get me started…

You need to set boundaries. There needs to be a set expectation on both sides about availability. This is easier said than done in an office. As a project manager, I would be interrupted several times a day by clients, vendors and co-workers. Clients would call because there was a problem that just had to be fixed at that second. I had vendors just popping in to drum up business and bring food to bribe us. And I would have bored co-workers discussing anything that came to mind whether I have the time to listen or not.  

If this sounds familiar, it may be one of the reasons you left the corporate world. So now you are alone in your office and you still find that constant contact, constant interpretations are still an issue, but this time you can’t blame anybody else for your lack of boundaries.  If you have a task that needs to be done by a certain time, close email and turn off the phone. Leave a message on the phone that says you are in a meeting you will be able to return calls at a set time. It isn’t that fact that you can’t be contacted that is the problem, it the uncertainty of when you are going to get back to them.

I admit that I have been on the other side of the coin on this subject, we all have. Sometimes my patience is not what it used to be, but I have to step back and realize why I am being impatient. I have to ask the question, did I wait until the last moment before communicating with the other person? When the answer is yes, that I back off of my frustration,  if the answer is no, than I have to make the decision if I will continue to deal with that person in the future.  

This is the difference between being proactive and reactive. Set boundaries, stick to them, and expect others to respect them.

Day 26 of what? Check out my post “30 Day Challenge” to read the answer.

Photo courtesy of, Ian Kahn

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