Those tough days get more problematic when you’re placed in a position of choosing between completing an important task and giving in to another’s wants. Specifically, when you are frazzled, on deadline, or behind schedule, and your child, partner, or co-worker interrupts because they want your attention. (Not to mention the phone, text chimes, email notifications, and doorbells). It would be natural at that high energy moment to say something along the lines of, “this isn’t a good time for me.” And that’s a perfectly normal response. Unfortunately human nature and ego are such that what those other people hear is, “I’m not important to you.”
Here’s some food for thought. Someone working fulltime (40 hours a week, 2080 hours a year) from age 21 (and many of us enter the job market well before then) till age 65 (and many choose to continue working past that age), will spend over 91,000 hours of their life at work. Compare that to the 2 – 3 hours a day you have left to spend with your loved ones. That’s some brutal math right there (and also a compelling reason to do what you love).
Of course, we can’t always drop everything without notice to accommodate all the people all the time. It’s wiser (and more productive) to establish ground rules. For instance, if you work from home, you might incorporate a policy where you’d like quiet/work time from 8am–1pm. Emergencies? Fine. Just be sure to define what constitutes an emergency. Make the distinction between wants and musts. Brainstorm work-a-rounds with others that are affected. How about installing an in-box outside your work area? Or perhaps a chalkboard where others can leave notes and requests. Whatever works best for you.
The key is establishing, communicating, and then adhering to those ground rules. They may not be perfect for everyone, but it beats being constantly frazzled and frustrated and is far better than having significant people hear, “I’m not important to you.”
From Dear You, Live! Love, Life
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