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Building Big Bold Barriers and Minding Your Own Business

"Alright," you say to yourself on Sunday, "this week, I will spend ten hours applying for jobs (or working out or practicing guitar or blogging or writing my book)."

It feels good to take control; you have the power over your schedule. You might even color code those ten hours into your Google calendar.


Then Monday arrives.


Your mom calls and she wants you to pick up your little brother from school. Your part-time gig calls and needs you to come in early. Your friends are going out to dinner tonight and need you to come too. You receive 39 emails, 5 of which make even more demands on your time. You feel the need to respond right away.

You constantly feel like you should be doing more. People need you to be available at all times. That is why we invented voice mail and email, right? So that even when you're not available, you are still captive of other people's requests. 


And the hours that you set aside for job hunting, guitar playing, and book writing? Gone - vanished into the vortex of other people's demands on your time.


Unfortunately, other people will never stop making demands on your time. It's not their fault, either. That's what people do. They want stuff, and they ask you. Don't get mad at them. Change your response.

Or don't respond. As in, turn off your god damn phone and stop checking your email 148 times a day. Three times is enough. If you don't do this, you're just asking for it. Your asking to be disrupted from the task at hand.


Because, people don't know how to treat your time unless you teach them.


You have to throw up a big bold barrier, hide on the other side, and mind your own business.


Your business = your priorities - that thing you said you would spend time doing this week but you didn't because of the incoming requests.

Other people's business = when other people make requests on your time. When other people need you to do something for them. When other people send you long, wordy emails without a specific purpose. When someone asks you to come earlier than expected. 


You still have the control, and it often shows itself with a little word called, "no". 


There are, however, a few things that you need to do before you can start taking control of your time.

First, you need to figure out what you want.

Second, you need to quit one thing.

All of this will help you to get off of the anxiety train



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Reader Comments (4)

HA! I'm pro-status at writing down a long list of 'To Do's on Sunday, feeling so great about my little list (sometimes a little premature accomplishment creeps in) and then the following Sunday rolls around and I realize that only about 25% of the things got done.

After a few weeks of 'Oh yea, I'll get alllll this stuff done this week!' and other non-truths, I become grumpy and generally discontent while staring at my impossibly long list of things to complete.

You're right about the solution. Cut out all of the crap that doesn't directly relate to your goals or happiness. You say quit one thing, shit, I'd say quit everything BUT the one thing you really want to do. If you get that one really important thing done, move on to the other stuff. =)

Thanks for the post. Feels good to read thoughts from a like-minded person. Reminds me I'm not crazy (or if I am, I'm not alone!)


November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Webster

Thanks for an inspiring post, friend !

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelsy

Tim- I agree that you should cut out everything that doesn't matter. However I am also a big proponent of baby steps and think that it would be a little overwhelming and unsustainable to cut everything out at once. What do you think?

Kels- thanks for the comment!

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