How to Deal with People

I want to give you three simple ideas for how you can deal with people, those "pesky" human beings that are all around us.

1. Boundaries

Many people I deal with as clients or people who DM me on social media feel like they're doormats. They're the people everyone brings problems to the working in the project; people stop by, DM them, call them, send them messages. You get my point because there are no boundaries.

It would help if you began setting boundaries. If you have no boundaries currently, you can't just go in like an invading army, like General Patton, and say, "I'm setting up boundaries; this is the way it's going to be." Don't do that. You have to be professional, courteous, and kind.

You're going to have to retrain some people because they probably are not used to boundaries, at least not boundaries with people who are their peers. But people who are above them, their bosses, do respect boundaries.

Let's say you work in a cubicle and people come by say, "Hey, you got a minute?" or "Do you have five minutes?" or "Can I ask you a question?" It's human nature to say, "Yes, I would love to help you." or "Yes. Come on in." or "Yes, what I'm working on not as important as you."

The problem is that this affects you and your productivity. If you don't have time, if you're in the middle of focusing, I want you to say, "You know what? I would really love to help you. But I'm doing this project right now, and I have a deadline, and I want to do an excellent job. So I tell you what, I'm going to take a break in an hour, at two o'clock this afternoon. Can we get together then?"

If you've never done this before, it's going to feel kind of weird. You'll think, "Well, why can't I just answer the question?" Because it's probably not going to be a simple question. It's going to be something similar to, "Well, let me give you some background." And as soon as they say, "let me give you some background" or "Let me start from the beginning," it's going to be a very long conversation.

Think about the boundaries that you need to begin to set in your life, both professionally and personally. Doing so is going to help you be a more productive human being. Now again, in the beginning, this is going to feel very odd, awkward even. But you have to set boundaries.

If you've ever invested in a coach, then you know there are boundaries. If the coaching sessions are 45 minutes long, coaches don't allow the calls to go beyond the time limit. If you book a call from 9:00 to 9:45 and show up at 9:30, you get a 15-minute call. Those are called boundaries.

Most people struggle with boundaries. Start small. Many people have boundaries at home and boundaries with their friends but don't have boundaries at work. When you have boundaries, leaders will respect you.

What is a small boundary that you can implement that will help you build your boundaries muscle? When you start small and see that the world doesn't, and you don't get fired, you create another boundary (strengthen that boundary). Just pick an area in your life that you need to establish a boundary and watch the difference.

2. Don't assume.

Someone says something to you; you read something in an email or a DM. If you're not sure what you heard or read, ask for clarification. As you know, when you're sending a DM or an email, it's not the same as when your eyeball to eyeball. You can't read the body language. The sender may be joking, and you may think they're mad at you. Make sure you ask for clarification.

Please don't assume you know what they mean. If you're not 100% clear, whether it's your boss, peer, a subordinate, the lady at the supermarket, the crossing guard, whatever, if you're not clear, ask.

This is one of the things I'm dealing with my dad with. He's 80 years old, and he's taking care of my mom, who's 76 years old and has late-onset Alzheimer's. She's a three-year-old trapped in a 76-year-old body. I recently visited them, and I noticed he has all these pills, which he takes every day. I said, "Dad, why are you taking all these pills?" He replied, "Well, the doctor says I need them." I'm like, "Dad, time out. It would help if you asked why you're taking these pills. I'm sure you probably need them all but make sure you understand." I think he understood me. A lot of people, when they get into the 70s and 80s, they are set in their ways. But my dad is listening to me.

It's just about your doctor. If your CPA,  boss, friend, mastermind friend, or neighbor, I don't care what it is; if you are not sure, do not assume you know what they're saying. Please do not assume you understand their intent. Ask for clarification.

Now. I did say in point two, don't assume. But now I'm going to ask you to...

3. Assume

This is going to sound kind of weird but stick with me. I assume that my fellow human beings, like you, are loving, caring, gentle people. I don't assume people are jerks. We have over 8 billion people on this planet, and I really believe that over 99% of the people are great. I don't care if you're American, Iranian, Russian, Egyptian, Colombian, Canadian, etc. are loving, caring, sweet, gentle people.

Unfortunately, those people don't get the publicity on the news or social media. That seems to be reserved for all the troublemakers. When I meet someone for the first time, whether in person or on social media or go to my website, I assume they are nice people. I assume that they're trustworthy people.

Maybe in the year 2021, I shouldn't be doing that. But I do assume the best out of people. But if you violate my trust, very quickly go on the naughty list. Santa won't bring you presents. What you do is your call.


Mark “Ski” Struczewski (Mister Productivity) works with executives to help them gain control of their time by taming distractions so they can experience less overwhelm, feel a sense of freedom, and enjoy their lives.

In addition to being a productivity coach, Mark is a speaker, host of The Mark Struczewski Podcast, and author. His strategies have guided CEOs/Executive Directors, business owners, business corporate specialists, and entrepreneurs to get back control of their time. You can find out more about how to connect with Mark and his mission to create confident leaders at

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