I just realized that I created another boundary in my life and have been happily living with it for quite awhile, maybe a year or more. I like boundaries; they keep me sane and productive. For instance, I have two email addresses and I never use my personal address for business or my business address for personal matters. This lets me focus my day on work, by ignoring my personal inbox, and lets me enjoy my off-time, by keeping business cares from intruding when I want to relax. I also have boundaries around my cell phone: it is my personal phone so I never take business calls on it. When I am away from my office, I like the feeling that I am truly away and that a business call will not intrude.
As I was walking to work this morning, it struck me I have another boundary around my work life of which I had not even been consciously aware. When people want to schedule a phone call with me, I tell them that I am available 9:00am to 5:00pm central time. While that is strictly true, it has always bothered me a little bit to say that because it sounds like I work a very short day. What I have been unconsciously doing is protecting a couple of pieces of my workday from interruptions, one at the beginning of the day and a second at the end of the day. Though I am always at my desk well before 8:00 and usually at my desk well after 5:00, I usually do not answer the phone if it rings outside that time period. I keep my early mornings and late afternoons for work that requires uninterrupted thought.
I think I will change my response when people ask about good times for a phone call with me. Something like, “I am available for phone calls between 9:00 and 5:00” would be a bit more truthful.