So, what, exactly is a No Fly Zone, at least in this context? No Fly Zones are periods of time where the sky above your head is clear from distractions and you can get down to business. For me, the constant alerts of Linkedin connections, Text messages, Emails about cake in the conference room (I work remotely, ergo, no cake.), and that one horoscope app that tells you your horoscope literally every time you are just about to pee, all of these things are like little paper airplanes that are getting thrown at our heads during the silent reading portion of study hall. So I’ve decided to create No Fly Zones.
My first foray into the world of NFZs had it’s origins in romance. I met my this guy and he was just… special. You know the feeling. The feeling that you just want to give a person all of your attention and be present for the relationship. Anyway, he had this really awesome energy about him, and I realized that his natural presence called for me to be truly present when I was with him. So I just, sort of, started naturally leaving my phone in the car when we went to eat. Sometimes I would turn my phone off and leave it in the car when I met him at his house. And then something magical happened.
My life did not burn down.
Holy sweet be-Jesus no one even really noticed I was gone. I would respond to emails a few hours later, or even the next day, and no one was angry.
Then, I began to apply it to work as well.
I created two massive NFZs right in the middle of my day. One from 9:30- 12; and one from 1-4:30. And you know what I did then? Worked on my priorities. I didn’t check in coming emails. I would send outgoing emails if they were on my list of priorities for the day, but I didn’t get caught up in the echo of call and answer. I just...waited until it was not a NFZ to read the emails that came in, and respond to the best of my ability.
Then I started applying it socially. I made my entire work day a massive NFZ for social stuff, and just checked in with family and friends on the way to work (East Coast Family) and on the way home (West Coast Friends.)
And again. No one hated me, nothing burned down. Every thing was fine. And I had peace.
Now, there are always bumps and emergencies, and you and your BF might have had a fight at breakfast so you want to check in (although sticking to the NFZ under these circumstances might literally cure that problem (more on that later)), but for the most part most things can wait.
I let my instincts guide me by the Rule of 3. If I get a message on the same topic three times, I look into the matter to see if it’s urgent.
Justine We Really Need your Expense Report today (email)
Justine We really need that expense report (text)
Hey, send that expense report over to me by 5 (VM)
Ok, I will stop what I’m doing and respond with the expense report. But if it’s three messages and they are not urgent…
What do you think of the new talent initiatives we are rolling out in 2018 (text)
Feedback on the 2018 initiatives would really help me for my meeting on Friday (email)
Just wanted to chat briefly, catch me when you can (VM)
I let it wait until the NFZ is over, and then devote some attention to it. Sounds pretty easy, right.
While you are in the NFZ, this is perfect time to spend your uninterrupted time using the 50-10 rule to get your priorities done and collaborate with others.
I hope you find this helpful!