Tuesday, January 3, 2012

3.365 Boundaries

My phone. How I can simultaneously love and hate something so much boggles my mind. 

This little device delivers some of the best news I have ever received and some of the worst, made me the happiest person and the saddest. On top of it, the range of emotions can shift so dramatically, so fast, without even a cloud in the sky, it can begin to storm. My phone is pretty much attached to me and never strays further than three feet.

The overall problem is timing and self discipline. 

I don't turn my phone off given the fear I have that my shop will be broken into, the alarm will go off, the alarm company will call, and I will not answer my phone. Once before the alarm went off, and I was called to the shop to meet the police at 3am. While we have a back-up person on the call list, I do not feel comfortable that I would be asleep while one my employees has to deal with the situation.

So now that the phone is on - hey why not look at it - good email, good email, bad email. Someone wasn't called back, emailed back, store wasn't open, didn't have what they wanted, yarn didn't perform properly, employee wants _______.  Now, do I write back immediately? Or wait until I am technically at work. Is it really fair for me to email someone back whom I want to talk too (work related) but not get back to the person who has a problem. If I get back to someone on my day-off, does it set the paradigm that I will always break my weekend to help them? Oh, wait, what just happened to my weekend, I am now in work zone even as I debate what to do. Ok, let me just email the shop to ask them to do take care of it (yes, the fact that I have a staff and I can do this is a huge step in my progress). Oh, now it is time to go back to work, and it feels like I never left. Ooo, what's that feeling, grumpiness! Yay!!

Working retail for me, while fun in the moment, helping people choose projects, can leave me feeling drained and unmotivated to work on my own projects. There are weeks, when I am so tired from work, that I spend my Saturday just scrolling though my phone, Twitter, Ravelry, texting, email. Repeat. I notice that spending a lot of time looking at my phone makes me feel bland. Blah. The people I follow online, Twitter specifically, are creative, constantly working on new projects, talking about new discoveries. Some of them craft for a living others do not. Twitter creates similar feelings in me as watching TV, it can be distracting in the moment. It allows my mind to wander into others worlds. It can be a form of escapism. There are days that anything which will get my mind to relax is enough. Though in the long run, I want boundaries around such.  I want to spend more time, undivided, creating. If I could just exert slightly more energy into putting my phone down and investing in a project - reading, sewing, knitting, cooking - I am so much more refreshed when I return to work.

Right now I am working on checking my phone, my email, and my Twitter, at designated times through out the day - even less so on my days off. Adrienne is much less sensitive to the bad emails, and is totally capable at handling an alarm call, maybe she'll keep my phone by her side of the bed, so my brain can rest at night.


Anonymous said...

Letting Adrienne keep her phone on is a good idea! Over the holidays I tried to do a better job of this and felt much more rested. We've designated family time in the evening where we put down the technology, I need to do a better job of that.

Kate said...

One night during the holiday break I realized there was very little ambient noise coming from the rest of the room, and I glanced over my knitting needles to see my husband, stepson, and stepdaughter sitting in a row, each absorbed in a little digital screen held in the right hand. I have miserable low-light vision, so when I glanced up, my headlamp hit them all in the face, and they all exclaimed as one "What?" A couple repeats of this was enough to get the idea across. Now the flashing headlamp signals time to draw, read, wind yarn, or - gasp - "just talk about stuff".

Michelle (missymarie) said...

No doubt technology is here to stay but managing it is the key. There needs to be boundaries.

It is very interesting to see it from a business owners point of view. Everyone needs a break from their job, to become energized, isn't that what weekends are for!

Adrienne is great at handling issues with the store if it can't wait until your weekend is over.