I have a friend who’s phone message says: “I’ll return your call AT MY EARLIEST CONVENIENCE.” The first time I heard this I thought: “well, don’t let me inconvenience YOU!” and laughed at how sassy she sounded.
Then, I paused and thought: “Brilliant.”
With that one little phrase she set boundaries. And, while I, personally, might use something more gentle like: “I will get back to you when I’m able,” the point is that boundaries are set.
Too often I have played slave to Facebook (where I conduct business sometimes, making linkages, sharing events, etc) and my Iphone to the detriment of productivity.
We live in an age where instant communication equals instant gratification but I, for one, think the pendulum has swung wwwaaayyy too far towards the ‘instant’ and less towards the ‘gratification.’
When I have work to do that requires my attention, I turn off Facebook and my Iphone. So far, no one has died. No one has spontaneously combusted. Everyone is okay.
What I accomplish by turning off the distractions and focusing is just that – FOCUS. In those moments of digital silence, I am able to dedicate my thought, creativity, and talent, and focus on the matter at hand. This, I believe, keeps me in integrity to the work I am accomplishing in those moments of digital silence. It also makes that work happen far more efficiently than if I were being pulled away by texts or posts.
Give it a try!
P.S. I’m am also a BIG fan of being upfront with communication. People feel safe when they know what is going on – less ambiguity equals more comfort. If you are super busy and cannot respond to phone calls or emails, then have your message and your auto-response say so respectfully and with an estimated reply-to date. Set boundaries and expectations and everyone is clear!