Well-Being//

Stop ‘Being Open for Business 24/7’: Implement These Easy Boundaries Today

In today's day and age, we can easily be "open for business" 24/7. Here's why we shouldn't.

Emilija Manevska/ Getty Images
Emilija Manevska/ Getty Images

By Maria Baltazzi, PhD

Bzzzt. The vibrating sound of my cell phone on top of my bedroom’s dresser.

Chirp, tweet, chirp, chirp. My alarm’s morning birds call me out of slumber.

Slowly, my left eye opens. The glow of a digital clock reads 6:03. The chirping gradually crescendos. I throw off my covers. Right foot on the floor, left. I push off the bed to get my cell phone. There was a day when I would have immediately looked at the messages, the social media posts that came in through the night. Instead, I take my phone and go plunk onto the meditation cushion I put out the night before. I set my meditation app timer for thirty-minutes, closing my eyes, three, two… I hear gentle rolling waves coming onto an imaginary beach as I notice my breath coming in and out of my chest.

We live in a world where there are over 3.5 billion mobile internet users. If we allow it, we can easily be ‘open for business’ twenty-four, seven. Last time I checked, I was not a convenient store, nor are you.

When the timer ends, I go into the kitchen to heat the water that is already in a kettle on the stove. The coffee grounds were measured out into a French Press the night before. A coffee cup is on a serving tray, along with a napkin and spoon. As the water warms, I make my bed, open the shades. Then, return to the kitchen to finish making coffee, taking it into the living room, where I write for the next two hours. Once that time passes, I am “open for business.” Now, I look at the emails, texts, social media posts that have come in through the night, return calls, take appointments.

We live in a world where there are over 3.5 billion mobile internet users. If we allow it, we can easily be “open for business” twenty-four, seven. Last time I checked, I was not a convenient store, nor are you. Physically, emotionally it is essential that you create work boundaries. Your body, your mind needs to recharge so you can perform at peak levels, make clearer decisions, act with grace.

Think about it. Before a store opens for business, the owner turns off the security alarm, gets the cash register set-up, tidies the displays, then finally goes to the door and flips over the “open” sign. At the end of the day, it is the reverse. They flip over the “closed” sign, shut the cash register, sweep the floors and restock inventory. They have a specific sequence that bookends their business day. The invitation here is for you to create a morning and evening routine that tells yourself when you are open and closed for business. This is good signaling for others, I might add. Respect your work boundaries and others will too.

Why is this important? It helps to modulate the overwhelm, the stress because you are no longer always on and available. 

At night, as I fill the kettle with water, spoon coffee grounds into my French Press, I know I have mentally “closed” my business day. Now, I can rest and restore for tomorrow. It makes a difference, and can for you too.

Originally published at lightworkers.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

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