How to Take Back Your Time *Without* Feeling like a Terrible Human
If I could set an ‘out of office’ message for my personal life, on the regular, this would be it.
It’s the ultimate first-world problem: we’re more connected than ever, meaning we’re more contacted than ever, meaning we’re more pressured than ever.
As someone who is notoriously bad at replying to certain conversations and inexplicably good at replying to others, I get it.
My responses — or lack thereof — don't simply drain me, they give me guilt. In fact, I’m convinced the MAJORITY of us are walking around carrying some kind of crazy guilt.
For not replying to that email. For not reacting to that WhatsApp message. For secretly wanting to leave that WhatsApp group (no? Just me?). For not getting back to that Instagram DM.
And here’s the thing: you know and I know that 95% of the time a lack of response isn’t ANYthing personal. (Unless it’s to that creepy guy who keeps sliding into your DMs unsolicitedly. In which case, totally personal. Sorry.)
Sometimes it’s because you want to savour the message and respond when you properly can. Other times it’s because you’ve simply had a really draining day and you can’t catch your thoughts.
I would keep typing the reasons, but I know you know them, reader. I know this struggle is real and, I guess, that’s why I’m writing this.
Consider it a call to arms...
First things first: you don't owe anyone an interaction. Here's a quote I love from this article by Caroline McGraw:
Second, here are some ways I’ve been messaging people — both personally and professionally — when I need to take a breather. Use them! See how it feels! I’m finding these responses feel better than silence (aka guilt) and people understand way, way more than you think.
(@Google, if you want to add these as Gmail template responses ASAP, that’d be a-mazing.)
PROFESSIONAL WAYS TO TAKE BACK YOUR TIME
- “I’m swamped right now, but do feel free to follow up”
- “This isn’t something I’ll be able to look at right now, but I know someone who may be helpful…”
- “Apologies, <NAME>. One of my goals right now is to focus more on myself. I would love to spend time doing this, but it isn’t something I’ll be able to get to right now.”
PERSONAL WAYS TO TAKE BACK YOUR TIME
- “Busy few days! Will reply as soon as I can. Sending love and good vibes your way, always. Hope you’re having an amazing week.”
- “Damn, I am so depleted. I’m going to take a break from WhatsApp for a little while, and will reply as soon as I’m back and have energy to do your message justice.”
- “Thank you so much for sending this! I’ll get back to you as soon as I have more headspace to do so.”
BOOM. I got you.