I work for myself and I have to regularly keep on top of emails and my social media so that I don’t miss anything and can react quickly. I have a husband and a seven-year old daughter and I am aware that they don’t always get the best of me in the evenings as I have one-eye on my various devices especially when I hear a ping. This week my daughter asked why I am always on the phone and sulked when I put off playing a game with her. Maybe she had a point but how can I find a better balance whilst still keeping my business going?
I relate to your scenario. It is hard. People, whether friends or clients, can often expect us to be available to them 24/7 and yet our loved ones also need our focused attention, certainly at least some of the time! The problem I find, and it sounds like you find it too, is that if you try to be everything to everybody, it just doesn’t work and no one is satisfied.
So what is the answer?
I am trying to work this out too! Here are three things I have found have helped me. Let me share them in case they might work for you.
- Be deliberate. Think about what and who is really important in your life. It is easy to think that a slower day is coming when you’ll have plenty of times to give to your loved ones but in my experience that day never comes. I know that if I want to nurture my relationship with my husband and my son, I have to give them my time and attention. Emails, calls or comments can often wait an hour or so without too much disaster but if we keep ignoring our close relationships we can never that time back. What's more, we might even end up harming our connection with them. We are showing by our actions that strangers and clients are more important to us than they are.
- Take time off. When would be a good time to switch off your devices? Why not try turning off any 'pings' on weekends or maybe decide to only check messages at designated times during the day.
- Be intentional with loved ones. Put aside devices during meal times and have deliberate time with them when you will not let yourself be interrupted. If you invest quality time in your relationships, loved ones are less likely to feel annoyed if and when you do really need to take time to work or deal with a crisis.
For me this is definitely a work in progress but I hope that has given you some ideas. I look forward to hearing how you get on.
Until then be bold, be brave and be yourself.
If you are reading this and have any thoughts or tips on disconnecting to connect, please use the comments below to let us know what has worked (or hasn’t) for you. Alternatively you can e-mail me privately if you are shy!
And if you have a question about how to live, love or lead more authentically then use the contact form here and we will try to include it in a future Q&A. If we do use your question we will send you a free copy of my book "Inside Out – how to have authentic relationships with everyone in your life."