I feel like online I put off this very open and available persona that is totally available and comfortable with everything I do in the online space.
A lot of that comes down to my people pleasing nature and feeling like I always have to be available to everyone (i’m working on that!).
And part of that comes down to the protections and boundaries I’ve put in place for myself, to ensure my introverted energy is protected from my online persona.
Of course, I will preface this by saying I live alone with my boyfriend who works full time and we don’t have any children. Therefore, protecting my energy is automatically a lot easier for me than it is for those in more populated living environments.
And I will also say that though I have my “online persona”, it’s still incredibly similar to my real life persona; being real online is something I pride myself on and I know is a real big reason why people follow me (because I asked and they told me so).
But even while being real online is important to me and my marketing / communication style, I need to have boundaries about what I do and don’t share, as well as boundaries around what I do and don’t respond to and when I respond or don’t respond.
All of this is in the name of protecting my energy as a textbook introvert, and ensuring that when I do show up, I’m showing up as my full self and giving off the right energy.
So how can you set those boundaries too?
First and foremost?
Turn off notifications and / or utilise DND
As introverts, our phones are a huge energy suck, even if you don’t realise it.
I love Instagram, but I know I can’t be ready to respond to everything all the time and I don’t even have that big of a following yet. But by setting boundaries now while I’m still relatively small, I know when that following gets bigger and possibly more out of control, I already have my best practices set up to protect my energy.
So ask yourself; do I need to have instant notification of every like? Every comment? Every email? Every DM? Every WhatsApp message, even? Are there some chats I can mute notifications for, so I can read them when I feel energised enough to do so?
If you do feel like you can’t mute most things yet, start off by using the automated DND settings on your phone. You can set it to turn on automatically during your personal hours - say, between 8pm and 9am so you won’t get any notifications during that time.
If that stresses you out you can set it to allow phone calls to come through or text messages; however it is your loved ones that get in touch with you.
And then be strict with it. That is your time: no one else’s!
I don’t get instant notifications on my phone for anything except text messages and phone calls. And I’ve yet to find a better method for protecting my energy than that.
Set Office Hours
Mmmmk this is a prime example of me occasionally not taking my own advice. If I’m not actively doing something not work related like doing a puzzle or playing PS4 I’m probably on my laptop or in my notebook writing ideas down.
So office hours? Don’t know her.
But I do have office hours for my clients that I am firm about, and anyone can do this too.
At first I was afraid to say “no we can’t speak right now, but I can call you tomorrow at 1pm” because I thought that would piss them off and make them think I didn’t care.
But if you have clients that don’t respect that you can’t be available to them 24/7 then really, they’re not the kind of clients I’d personally want to keep working with long term.
So whatever those office hours might be for you, pop them in your contracts, and in your client onboarding kits and make sure you stick to them. Don’t reply or answer if it’s outside office hours (and it’s not urgent - a website going down is obviously a different story). If you want to make sure your clients always warn you before they call you can throw that in to.
You’re in charge here.
Control your communication channels
This is one I learnt the hard way.
Do not let your clients dictate how they communicate with you, because it really quickly gets out of control. I’ve found myself being contacted by the same person on the same day on Instagram DM, text, email and their company Slack channel.
It’s completely confusing, overwhelming and truly impossible when it comes to protecting your energy.
Figure out how you want to be communicated with. For me all business instruction comes through email or phone call that is then followed up with in an email for confirmation. That helps me keep everything in one place, so I’m not having to try and figure out where I was told something in particular. This is also important for backing yourself later if there ends up being a miscommunication!
I totally welcome Instagram DM’s and text messages / WhatsApp for random stuff, little chats, scheduling a call or asking a question but if it’s turning into a bigger conversation, I always divert it to email or call.
Just simply saying “I will email you with more questions about this” is as complicated as it needs to be!
Until next time, look after yourself!