My name is Michael and I have a problem.
It pains me to say it, but I am a Time Elitist (TE). I screen my calls, rarely answer, and sometimes take more than a few days to listen to the voicemails that are left on my phone. Occasionally, I will hold off even looking at texts, chat messages, and emails for hours, even days. Requests for coffee are often denied. Meal meetings are, in most cases, not even a possibility.
I'm a pain in the ass to get a hold of. It's on purpose. You wouldn't be blamed for thinking that I am a just an asshole (which, depending on who you ask, might not be far off), but I'm here to defend myself. I think what I'm doing is, however hard for others to understand, the right thing to do.
I am keenly aware of what I'm "put on this planet to do" and I work each day to make it a reality. If I took phone calls every time they came in, who would that be serving? The caller, perhaps. But not myself and definitely not the work. Text messages are just as bad. They can pull you off your game for hours in the course of a simple conversation. Email and Facebook are marauding time thieves as well.
I need my space. My mental time. I need silence to think. And then, most importantly, I need quiet to WORK. Staying in constant contact with the world works against that equation, not for it. My work is my focus and my reason for being here. The people who love me most know this and see my true expression in the work. They know it's where I live. It's so important to me, that I have a hard time expressing it.
On the other hand, I love my friends and associates. I truly do. They are one of the big joys in my life and I don't want to neglect them. Unfortunately, I occasionally get very bad at staying in touch. Something needs to change.
So here is my plan:
a) Stealing a page (or two) of thoughts from Tim Ferris (www.fourhourblog.com), I am going to record my outgoing message to encourage callers to email me instead and, if not possible, tell them two specific times and days of the week that I check my voicemail. Stick to those times and days religiously.
b) Use an app like YouMail that allows me to select which voicemails I listen to when, so I can listen to the high priority ones from family and close business partners ASAP and prioritize the order of listening to make sure I'm spending my time wisely.
a) Batch checking these to twice a day, taking care to put it specific blocks with a defined start and finish time. It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole here, so it's best to build the constraints into the process.
3) Day Planning
a) Schedule in defined work times and stick to them, allowing my off time to BE my off time.
b) Spend that off time connecting with those I care about and haven't seen in awhile.
c) Plan in time for networking and expanding my connections base.
d) Always plan time for proper nutrition and exercise.
e) Set aside for meditation twice a day, every day.
f) Work to limit distractions of all kinds throughout my work time.
So, there you have it. This is how I will be going about trying to cultivate my time and not be an irresponsible partner or friend. I'll let you know how it works out.
What about you? Do you have any routines, rules, or tips that might help myself or others in this area?