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How to get others to respect your time


I have some tough love for you (and me) today...

If someone consistently abuses your time, it's YOUR fault, not theirs.



That's because we train people on how to respect - or disrespect - our time:

 👉 Rewarded behavior continues.

 👉 UNrewarded behavior stops.


When your colleague drops by your office without prior notice and says, "Hey, do you have a minute (which always turns into 30) to talk about a problem with me?"...

 ❌ If you say, "I am in the middle of something, but OK, just this once," you are training that person to think that it's OK to drop by and interrupt you anytime.

 ✅ Instead, respond with, "Nice to see you! This is actually a bad time. Do you mind reserving an open spot on my calendar so I can give you my full attention? Thanks!"


When a colleague sends you a Slack message at 9 PM...

❌ If you respond right away, you are training that person to believe that you're available 24/7.

✅ Instead, schedule your message to send at 8 AM the next morning. 


When you are automatically added to a meeting by your boss (making 7 hours of meetings that day), which means that you won't have time to get your actual work done within normal business hours...

❌ If you attend the meeting and do 2 hours of work that evening to catch up, you are training that person that it's OK to add meetings to your calendar without your approval AND that you complete all of the tasks on your list - no matter how many there are and how much sacrifice it requires from you

 Instead, either decline the invite or got o your boss and say, "Hey! I just saw that meeting invite come through. Unfortunately, I'm not able to attend because I am working on the XX project that we defined as a high priority this week. I'm not able to do both. If you need me to attend the meeting, I can rearrange priorities, but that will push back my time table on the project. What needs my attention the most right now?"


When a client asks to meet with you on a Saturday morning...

 If you say, "OK I can make that work for you" (meanwhile, you must cancel your family plans), you are training that person to think you are available to meet 24/7. 

 Instead, respond with, "I am sorry. I do not offer meetings on evenings or weekends, as that's time that I dedicate to my family. Instead, I'm available from 9 AM to 4 PM, Monday-Friday. Might you have some time off in the next month that is within those time frames?"


I get it. You're trying to be nice. You don't want to ruffle any feathers. 

But when you consistently abuse your OWN boundaries, others learn to do the same. 

Fulfillment requires controlling your time.

Don't give it away easily.


Here's to your fulfillment!

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