ID-100224548post by Stephanie Nelson

I recently found myself in a pretty crappy position. I was under deadline for multiple clients. At the same time, my phone and/or computer was going off about every 30 seconds, letting me know I’d received some sort of communication – a text, a phone call, a Google Chat message, a Facebook message, etc. What should have been a stressful but manageable day became overwhelming fast.

What really set me off, though, was that all of those notification sounds on my phone and computer were for complete banality from friends and family: Had I seen this post on Facebook? So and so had such a healthy lunch. Here’s a picture of so-and-so’s cat. So and so was planning this, that, or the other for July 4th.

Admittedly, I went the passive-aggressive route and posted on Facebook (even though half the folks the message was directed towards aren’t on Facebook. I posted, “OK, people. Let’s revisit this. The two key words in the phrases “I work from home” and “I work for myself” are ‘I WORK’.” In true-to-form fashion for my non-offending friends, they started responding with comments like, “yes, but can you grab my dry-cleaning… I like, actually work and whatever…” (I love some snark!) to which I had to respond (in fellow snarky fashion), “Let me phrase this another way. I have $#!+ to do. Do you need something or are you bored?” (Again, a portion of the folks sending me the banality are not even on Facebook to see this.)

But this whole exchange got me to thinking about respecting entrepreneurs’ time. Most days, these incessant pings probably wouldn’t have fazed me. I mean, how many days had this been happening when it DIDN’T faze me?!?!? And have I been guilty of doing the same thing to others? As a result, I’ve made a few new rules for myself.

  • All work-related communications will be restricted to work-related outlets. I will not contact a person about business through Facebook Messenger, texting or calling their personal cell, etc (unless they’ve asked that of me). And any work-related communications I receive through non-work-related outlets will get a response asking that a work-related outlet be used.
  • During work hours, I will do my best to not “just chat” with folks as much as possible.
  • I will also not respond to texts, Facebook messages, Google Chat messages, etc that are not work related during work hours unless there is an extenuating circumstance (like the day my parents had a wreck that left them carless and in the hospital – that call I’ll take).

As much as I want my time to be respected, I want to be respectful, too. So what do you think? Good steps to take? Am I being too harsh – on others and/or myself?