I’ve been having a lot of great discussions on the topic of silencing notifications and asynchronous work. It’s prompted some really thoughtful conversations around setting boundaries.
Many people feel like they can’t say no when someone needs them. But you CAN say no.
Of course, that comes with consequences, and I’m certainly not saying everyone should go out and start saying no to every request they hear at work.
We do have to communicate with people on our teams. That doesn’t mean that we can’t create boundaries.
If you were a surgeon doing an operation, the patient’s family might love to come into the room and get a status update. While it might make them feel better, doing so would actually hinder the surgery.
That example is extreme, but the concept applies. You have to put boundaries up around the way you interface with those around you in such a way that you can be helpful while still getting their work done.
You can say no, and you can push back. It might be awkward, especially if you’re just setting a new expectation. If they’re used to being able to interrupt you, it’s going to be harder to establish that expectation. It might take some time, but it’s worth it.