Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated April 1, 2021)
My son said something pretty profound the other day, and since hearing it I have not been able to get it out of my head. He said that there is nothing more precious that a man can spend then his time. What really makes this profound is the fact that my son is only 10 years old. I found it absolutely amazing that something that has taken me over thirty years to realize and understand was understood so early by my son.
This got me to thinking about the importance of protecting personal time and using it wisely. To many people it may seem like the only way to protect your personal time is by completely cutting yourself off from the rest of the world, but there is another way. By organizing your life a little more efficiently, you can more easily protect your personal time.
One way to protect your personal time is to simply ask your friends, relatives or colleagues to give you a call or send you a text before they drop in. By doing this you are going to be able to have at least a little warning prior to their arrival, or you can give them advance warning that you are not available for what they may have in mind. Many times if you have people do this, they realize that you are not always available at their disposal, but that your personal time is your time. This can be a huge help to protecting anyone's personal time.
I have found one thing to be of the greatest help when it comes to protecting my personal time, and that is the habit of leaving work (and work-related problems) at work. I found that by bringing home either work projects or other types of problems or concerns from work, that I was not really allowing myself to have personal time. I was, in fact, simply continuing my work, but simply at a different location. When it became known that I was doing this at work, my co-workers, not to mention my boss, felt absolutely no qualms about intruding on my time (without compensation of any sort). Needless to say, this was not something that sat very well with either my wife or my children, leading to more problems and more wasting of my personal time.
By making it known, in pretty much no uncertain terms, that I am not available for work-related matters when I am not at work, I have been able to help protect my personal time. My current employer knows that I am available for work-related matters only in the case of emergencies. While some may think that this has stopped my career advancement, by being able to delineate my personal and professional life, my supervisors have actually said that they were impressed by the boundaries that I set.
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