“Excuse me, do you have wifi here?”
I feel like I’m an automated robot hardwired to say that over and over again. And every poor barista or waiter seems to be hardwired with one of two responses:
“Sighhhhhhh. Yes, it’s….”
“Sighhhhhhh. Sorry, no we don’t”
I swear there’s some sort of invisible chain linking us with a death-like grip to the online world. We need some bolt cutters, stat.
It was never more obvious to me than it was in New York. I had no international roaming or data. The only way I could connect with anyone back home or do (some) work was to be connected via wifi. I couldn’t see emails, texts, Facebook, or even post a slick video of the Harlem Gospel Tour singing on my Snapchat. Oh, the pain. It was either find wifi or enjoy New York in the company of my own mind and Penny.
Writing that makes me realise how incredibly blinded I am.
Seriously, Kate, that was a debate? That was a concern? Holy bliss balls, get your priorities checked.
It’s that dreaded FOMO. Damn curse.
Since that curse has it’s own catchy acronym, it’s fair to say you experience it too. I wonder though: are we more susceptible to it because we’re business owners? Because we make our livings being present online? Do people who have a cosy 9-5 feel this urge? I bet they do, but I also bet we cop an additional dosage of it.
The 24/7 nature of the online world leaves us with the feeling we need to be available 24/7. As in; always on, always there, always posting, always responding.
If we’re not: woahhhh, we’re missing business opportunities.
OMG what happens if someone asks about my services and I’m not there and I lose them because I didn’t respond within 5 minutes of their email?
What happens if there’s a really invigorating, energetic conversation happening in my facebook group and I’m not there? What if I miss a perfect opportunity for a new client?
I have to post every day! I have to be seen! I have to write back to comments instantly!
Set that skinny latte down and chill your grill. Here’s a newsflash: it doesn’t matter.
Warren Buffett only schedules meetings one day in advance. Denise Duffield-Thomas completely ignores private messages sent via social media. Elizabeth Gilbert has complete tech-free weekends. A German company (and countless people) delete any email that has been sent to their staff when they’re on holiday.
Every successful person, or trailblazing leader, is not readily available. So, why should you?
This ‘ASAP’ culture is only a perception. We don’t have to play that game.
We don’t need to be on everyone’s beck and call 24/7. There’s simple things you can do to avoid it. Like:
- Have designated ‘work hours’. Even if you work around the clock, set your available or ‘opening’ hours.
- Create ‘reply within’ guidelines around the 24-72 hour mark for your emails.
- Create firm contact boundaries. For example, I am no longer accepting private messages on my Facebook or Instagram. If you want to contact me, email me.
- When taking a holiday (you should), either hire someone to manage your customer service or let everyone know that all emails sent during that time period won’t be read. If they’re important, they’ll resend them.
- Turn notifications off your phone. Holy moly, doing this alone will make you feel so much better.
- Use StayFocusd to limit your web use so it has your back when your willpower drains as fast as your coffee.
Do this, and maybe the next time you visit a rad little cafe, you can put your phone away and ask that spunky barista how his day has been instead. Wouldn’t that be nice?
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