I had an early video call with my client at 8 a.m. before her workday began. During our conversation, I constantly heard her phone buzz.
She indicated – these are my colleagues who call me with questions. Because “I always need to be available”.
The first thing I do is looking at my phone
Another customer felt as if she was constantly working. When we went through her daily routines, she indicated that her workday started at 9 o’clock. But she “began” working as soon as she opened her eyes. The first thing she did, after turning off the alarm clock on her phone, was to check her email. She always needed to be available.
I am also available on the weekend
A third customer told me that he travelled less than he would like. Because he received a lot of calls during the weekend, from his CEO. His response to why he also responded in the weekend was: “I need to be available.”
Your mobile office on your phone
Of course, with the improvement of mobile phones, we have more and easier access to our business email. And WhatsApp, texts and the possibility of video calling also make us more accessible in every possible way.
You are the one who lets it happen
But those are just means. At the end of the day, we still decide for ourselves whether to open, answer or react to our phone. And that is where the real problem lies. The idea that “You should always be available”, even if it is (far) outside of working hours, in the weekend, early in the morning or late at night. Deep down, you know that too. Only how can you stop yourself from making yourself available all the time, and make sure to end your suffering?
Nothing has to be done, you decide
Is it really the rule that you always must be available, or is that what you believe? For all my customers it was not a rule, but just something they had imposed on themselves. You need to realise that you always have a choice, you can still determine whether you respond or not. You are the CEO of your life. With the following tips, you make it easier for yourself not to respond.
Allow yourself (a few) hours before you start on your phone
When you have slept well, you are rested and you start the day with a fresh perspective. Your perspective. When you immediately start checking your mail or social media, you let yourself be taken away from that perspective. Someone else asks something from you: answer my email, or buy now. You allow yourself to be guided by this other, without taking the lead yourself. Start your day on your terms, take a moment before you let yourself be flooded by the world around you.
Make clear agreements with yourself about your working hours
What is acceptable to you and what is not? Not to be disturbed before being in the office, can be a hard rule for yourself. And also: no more work-related check-ins, after 8 p.m.. Many people say you can reach me until around 10 p.m., but ask yourself: do I really want that? And remember that it is important to switch off, only then will you rest, allowing you to be more productive the next day. The greatest stress arises because you “always are always on”, so start by setting boundaries around the “always”.
Turn off notifications/push messages
Nothing is as distracting as a notification popping up, to tell you that something has happened. A new WhatsApp message, another email or a new FaceBook update. A push message or notification does not select. There is no distinction made between an email from your most important customer and Harrod’s newsletter. Stop the distraction and turn off all notifications, so that you determine when you are looking at your mail. You’re choosing a time when it suits you.
Put your phone away more often
Even more effective is to put away or switch off, your phone at certain times. Are you working on an important piece with a deadline? Then put your phone in airplane mode. It’s a lot quieter. Physically placing your phone elsewhere works even better. You will then also notice how often you pick up your phone up, to consciously seek distraction. Especially, if you are working on something that is not easy, you are tempted to quickly grab your phone. Procrastination. Get focused and put your phone away.
Check your email at specific (fixed) times
Do you want to become more productive and save time? Then this is your number 1 tip. Schedule fixed moments to check your e-mail. Do not make this the first thing you do on a day, because at the start of the day you are the brightest and your concentration is at best. Rather start your day by working on that important piece. Schedule checking your email also in your calendar, so you really have time for it.
Only respond to urgent matters outside working hours
If you still want to be available outside working hours, make sure it is worth it. Respond to urgent matters, only. How do you know it’s urgent? If something is really urgent, you will be called. The urgency will be a lot less via email or WhatsApp. The advantage of calling is that you can immediately see who is calling and you can decide not to answer.
Make agreements with your customers/boss and colleagues
It is important that you remember that you have control over your time. Certainly outside working hours. You determine whether you are available and want to be. Do you have the idea that you have no choice, and that this it’s simply expected of you within your organisation? Then you can do several things:
- Make it explicit. Is this really the expectation and if so what are the rules? Start the conversation with your customers/boss and colleagues and indicate what you need to perform well.
- Has it become clear that it is the intention that you are on call all the time? Then ask yourself: does this way of working and culture suit me? Do I really want this, or do I prefer to work differently?
- Respond occasionally, at crucial moments and otherwise choose for what you want to do.
Replace FOMO with JOMO
In summary: Often our urge to be available is determined by our fear of missing out or FOMO in short. If you can let this go and replace it with JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) then it will be a lot easier to let your phone go.
Do you want to be helped to choose more for yourself and to be the CEO of your life? Mail me and we’ll make an appointment to see what YOU can do today.
P.S. I have very cool news! Very beautiful things are coming up .. I can hardly wait to share it with you! Whoohoo!
P.S.2: Can you wait for the news, but not to take control of your success now? Do you want even more results without having to work harder? Contact me and we’ll work on it together.
Yvonne Dam is an online life coach who helps ambitious and successful people to enjoy life. She helps them to focus on what matters in their lives and careers, in order to make more money and achieve more freedom! After feeling trapped in the corporate world, Yvonne decided to do more of what she loved and found the more she chose to do what she wanted, the happier she became. Yvonne is passionate about coaching and sharing her expertise with you so you can be liberated to fully embrace life. Ready to have more time and have some fun? >> download 50 tips to get a work-life balance<<