As an owner of multiple businesses, it’s easy to end up working too much. After all, your employees, clients, suppliers and more have access to you 24 hours a day through text, email and phone. Some people have boundaries. Some have common courtesy. Some do not.
For businesses like our construction and real estate companies, we set those boundaries. At the outset of projects, we provide our clients with a document that details what they can expect throughout. One of the topics is “when to contact your project manager”, and it sets the expectation that nights and weekends are family time, and unless there is an emergency, it can wait.
Most people kindly oblige. Some do not. If you’re curious, you can find the document at the bottom of this post: A GOOD FRIEND ONCE TOLD ME P = P… PEOPLE EQUAL PROBLEMS. Feel free to use it or modify it any way you like
For businesses like our Airbnb and rental management, that framework is nearly impossible. Reservations, questions, issues… you name it… come in at all hours of the day and night. It’s unavoidable. It’s part of the “job”. But quickly, you can find yourself working, just a little, every hour of every day.
That said, ultimately it is up to you when and if you respond to anything at all. So there is some….some… control you have over these scenarios.
But what about when you are your own worst customer???
Through the years I have disabled notifications of nearly every kind on my phone. My ringer is also rarely on…silent mode is your ally. I’ve also set good boundaries for myself surrounding when to check email. Typically by Friday at 5, it’s unlikely you will get a response from me until Monday morning around 7. If it’s an emergency, you know where to find me. Otherwise… yes… it can wait.
Herein lies the problem….the internal problem. The problem that drives the question I have for you.
Is it worse to wonder what is inside your email… or just open it and know, but be “working”, during hours you’ve set for yourself as off limits?
For me, the anxiety of wondering what possibly terrible thing may lurk inside, is sometimes worse than just diving in and eliminating the source of the problem. Unfortunately, this now takes me away from whatever I was doing, and I am now in “work mode”. Sometimes work mode can linger for hours afterwards, depending on what takes place. So, a decision must be made.
Often, I wondered if I was the only one that felt this way. I have friends who check their work email 365 days a year and think nothing of it. While I don’t find this to be a healthy way to live your life, and it certainly isn’t the life I chose for myself… to each their own.
At any rate, I did a quick Google search on the topic. Turns out, myself and just a couple others have considered the consequences of this issue.
477,000,000 search results for “email anxiety”. Think about that for a minute. Nearly half a BILLION topics, on something that didn’t even exist not that long ago.
So, tell me, what do you do to battle email anxiety? How do you set boundaries for “you time”? Comment below or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.
See you on the journey…
4 thoughts on “Do you hate your email like I do?”
Praise this blog. You hit every nail on the head. I’m trying to set boundaries to balance work/life and I’ve started doing much better at it but email anxiety is real. I feel if I keep up with it on my off days then when I’m back in, the workload will be less. It also never ends up being “working a little” bc I get caught up in it and if I don’t, it still occupies my mind for a few hours. At least we are conscious of it and we do our best to take our time for ourselves and our loved ones. A lot of people I work with are the same way. You are not alone for sure! If we don’t control it, it will control us.
I also have removed all notifications for anything pertaining to work and DND is my best friend. 🙌
Thanks for sharing Melissa!
1) Unless I’m in the business of saving lives, it can wait.
2) I already spend more time working than I do with my family. I will not let work take me away from the precious time I do have. It can wait.