DEAR HARRIETTE: Ever since the pandemic started, I have spent the whole summer at my family’s cottage in a small beach community. We have gone there for summer vacations since we were kids. I’m so grateful for this little oasis. While in the past I went there only for fun, it has turned into a safe and comfortable place for me to work since I still work remotely. The problem is that my friends who are there do not understand that I am often working. They pop over the way the always have, ready to play. I have told them now for three summers that I mostly have to wait until after 5 p.m. to be free to be with them. I can tell they are mad at me. I have broken our cycle, and they don’t like it. How can I get it clear to them that this isn’t personal? I have to work, and I want to spend time with them, too. I just have to schedule it. -- Work/Fun Balance
DEAR WORK/FUN BALANCE: You may want to make a sign to put on your front door to alert your friends of your status. One side could say, WORK TIME: DO NOT DISTURB. The other side can say, FUN TIME: COME ON IN. Or you can think of something else that’s clever that will let your friends know when they are welcome. I’m sure it hurts their feelings for you to shoo them away when they come over. It is also equally disruptive to you and your work if they burst in and you are on a call or otherwise occupied.
Tell them that you have an idea that may help with the rhythm of your engagement. Get their buy-in, and post it!