Lately I have made a stand and told the guild I need time to work on my own characters. When I log onto a toon other than my main I announce in guild chat that I am not available except in case of emergencies, I mark myself /DND and flip to the combat log so I don't even see the chat panel. Some guildies just don't get it though.
I have three active officers who all have responsibilities, and one honorary officer. All Officers have the ability to invite new members to the guild, and all participate actively in recruiting. I know how important proper delegation is, and everything that can be delegated at this point, is.
I want to stay involved with what the guild is doing. I don't want to be seen as exclusionary or aloof. I want to support new and/or lower level members, and help to make them feel at home, but I am starting to reach my wits end.
Am I being foolish thinking that I can lead a guild while playing the game in my own way? Are there other things I could do to resolve this situation? Must I resort to rolling off-server to indulge my interests? Help me O Great Sage. Throw me a lifeline.
Burning the Candle at Both Ends
Hi, Burning. Your situation is fairly common for a guild leader, particularly when your guild has a social component. The larger your roster grows, the more people will ask you for advice, favors, support, and "just a minute" of your time.
On the plus side, consider it a compliment that so many in the guild look to you for help and for answers. Clearly they consider you a friendly and reliable officer.
Guarding your time
Announcing some boundaries can sometimes help, but as you've discovered, it's not always effective. A player who logs in after your announcement won't understand why you're set to DND. Or else they'll simply tell themselves that tag applies to everyone else but not them. (After all, you're their guild leader, right?)
Every player who whispers you thinks they're the only one who's doing so. "Tell hell" wasn't coined as a theoretical situation; for officers, it's a very real place.
One method I tried was to set aside a specific period during each week when other officers and I would make ourselves available to help anyone with anything they needed. It didn't really catch on, however. I think players were a bit embarrassed to come forward during these specific windows.
A better solution that I discovered was this: When I logged in during prime time intending to do some solo play, I asked right away if anyone needed anything from me. That way, I was able to get most of the requests and conversations out of the way early in my play session. After I'd handled all the immediate business, I was able to enjoy some solo time with fewer interruptions.
Not all requests are vital, and not everything has to be handled by you. Don't give in to every frivolous urge your guild members may have. If you say no once in a while and establish that you aren't always on the clock as a guild leader, people will have more respect for your time in the long run. As guild leader, I always put my foot down when it was late at night and people wanted to discuss guild business. A Saturday at 2 a.m. is not the time for that!
There are often some good reasons to say no -- to encourage some self-reliance, for example, in a player who turns too frequently to others for help with soloable tasks. Also, some drama is better off being handled between the players themselves. If you step in every time, then your members will expect officer assistance with every minor squabble.
Selecting which issues you will address and which you won't is an important skill for any leader. Sports coaches couldn't do their job very well, after all, if the players brought every little problem to them. That's what agents are for.
Escaping to alts
Of course, if it gets to be too much, you can always play an unguilded alt -- that is, if you haven't shared your Real ID with your guildmates. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the game without the responsibility from time to time.
If you find yourself doing that too much, however, you may be experiencing some serious officer burnout. In that case, you've overextended yourself. You may need to take a break or even step down from your position.
The fact that you're still mostly enjoying your role tells me that you're not close to that point yet. I think that carving out more time for yourself between raids will go a long way to ensuring you never get there.
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to email@example.com.