Today is all about building your boundaries for communication in email, text, and a whole host of messaging platforms.
You've likely heard some maxim about running your inbox, not letting it run you. In reality, we find it so hard to do this. As our culture has become more connected and more impatient, we feel a responsibility to be accessible. Will you be shunned for not seeing your friends post on Instagram? Will you be in trouble for not responding to a so-called urgent email that comes in at 8 pm?
Here are a few thoughts to help put you in control of your inbound messages so you don't shoulder guilt for 'being slow' or 'bad at responding.'
- Turn off push notifications for all messaging apps except for text. This allows you to discover messages for you on your terms, not when they are thrown in your face the second they come in by push notification.
- Turn off the number bubble sitting on top of the app. Similar reason for above. It's like a gut-punch of guilt every time you see that red bubble of stress.
- Be proactive. In many workplace chat apps like Slack you can set your status or set yourself as away. Take advantage of this! Even for text messages (on iPhone, at least) you can set up 'Do Not Disturb' which sends an auto text message reply when it's after hours or you're in flow on a project. If your business is dependent on responding to people quickly (i.e. new leads), try to configure automated communication that responds to them immediately saying, I will respond at XYZ time which is my focused time to do this so I can best serve you.
- Time block. Pick a couple of times a day to be responsive. My main one is during my afternoon bus ride. I respond to outstanding non-urgent emails, texts from friends, and LinkedIn messages, etc. Give yourself permission to be mostly unavailable outside this time.
- Build your routine and communicate it. Figure out the optimal way you handle communication and make sure your friends, colleagues, clients, and family know about it. You'll be amazed at how much they respect you for it.
- Separate work. My new job came with a work phone and since this is the first time I've ever had such a thing, I had no idea what I was missing. As I write this on Saturday afternoon at a coffee shop, my work phone is happily taking a break from me at home. I have the separation on the weekend needed. Try to request a work phone if that is something that makes sense for you.
Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?
Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.
Get my top tools and courage to quit burnout weekly without leaving your corporate job 😌
✉️ Sustain is my signature weekly email that readers describe as an 'epic message'. Get the next one delivered straight to your inbox >
✉️ How I Quit Burnout is my premium newsletter containing all my tested and data-backed strategies. Get the next one delivered straight to your inbox >
📣 Have ideas, want to contribute, or book me? Let's chat