I find that boundaries work better when they’re created ahead of time.
It doesn’t mean that a boundary in response to an overstep or a boundary on the fly isn’t okay, of course. Those are great, too.
But I like the ones I set ahead of time because they make me feel safe.
Plus, when the rules of engagement are set ahead of time, there are fewer messes.
(Note: I said fewer. We’re human. There will always be messes.)
At the beginning of each month in our company, we fill out our individual dates that we’ll be unavailable so that everyone else on the team knows.
The other day during our team meeting we were talking about availability around the holidays, especially as it relates to customer service and our email response time.
We’ve experimented with varying levels of availability over the holidays in years past, and this year I really wanted to dial it in way ahead of time so that our team knows what to expect and so that our customers know what to expect.
Knowing what to expect helps people feel safe.
As we were talking, I realized that while we certainly could be available to our customers and larger community over the holidays, doing so would be the antithesis of our mission, which is to help ambitious people light up the world without burning themselves out.
Just because we CAN be online 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year does not mean it’s good for us. Or even for our customers.
We talked through the potential availability plans, the pros and cons of each for our team and our customers, and here’s what we came up with – may it inspire you to set your boundaries around holiday availability for yourself and your business early and clearly:
Our Company Holiday Availability Plan
Minimally Available November 25th
Unavailable November 26th-27th for the US Thanksgiving Holiday
Unavailable December 23rd-27th
Minimally Available December 28th-January 3rd
Your availability plan doesn’t have to look like ours.
But I DO recommend having one. Because if you don’t, you’ll likely get sucked into the cultural trance of “expected perpetual availability.”
You deserve rest. You deserve to unplug. Just because you can be available all the time doesn’t mean you should.
Let’s interrupt the trance, set some boundaries with ourselves and each other, and give ourselves permission to log off.
What’s your holiday availability plan for your business or just for you personally? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
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