One thing that can help immensely is to get rid of an insidious false expectation thrust upon us by electronic communications. We are now trained to think that because others have access to us, we are obliged to respond to them. It sounds crazy, but it is true. Most of us tend to feel that just because someone sent an email or left a voice-mail message, we are responsible to give an instant response. And some people do expect that. How many times have you heard something like, “I emailed you this morning; why haven’t you responded?” or “I left you a voice-mail an hour ago; why didn’t you answer?’ Now, just who is in charge of your dream?
Remember that you owe people what you have promised to owe people, not what they expect because they left you a message. Get out of the guilt trap here. It will never lead you to your new life. Sometimes when I work at the computer, I turn off my email program so I won’t be tempted to answer everything that pops up. And I also leave the phone off, except for patient emergency contingencies, and pick up voice-mail a couple of times a day—just so I can be free from distractions in my work.
It’s Not My Fault, DR HENRY CLOUD and DR JOHN TOWNSEND