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Why You Should Never Answer Your Phone

December 6, 2013
Dusty phone

Photo courtesy of Howard Lake

I never answer my phone. In fact, right now, I don’t know where my phone is…or if I still have one.

I have a phone number, but all calls go directly to voice mail.

Feel free to call me at 615-460-9595 if you’d like to see what happens…

Why Do This?

Any communication that you don’t initiate or set a specific time to handle is an interruption. When somebody calls you at a random time, you’re now on his schedule, not your own.

Too many of these contacts and you’ll never get anything done.

It’s Similar to Smoking…

So how do we get caught up in this mess? It’s very similar to how people start smoking.

Smoking looks cool in cigarette ads, movies, and television, but the reality for most people is far from that. Nobody in cigarette ads, movies, and television talks about yellow teeth, bad breath, and emphysema…

And like smokers imagining themselves as total badasses, people with ringing mobile devices think similarly positive thoughts about their situations.

“I look important.”

“People want me.”

“I’m getting work done.”

The fantasy is far from the reality though. What really happens when you’re connected all the time is you’re always at the mercy of other people and, because of this, your agenda gets pushed to the side.

The “Music Business” Solution

Tearing the phone out of the wall is extreme for most people. However, there is a nice middle ground that I learned from watching the radio industry…

In radio, playlist decisions are often the result of one person, known as a music director. He’s the guy who interacts with record company representatives, auditions new music, and makes decisions about which songs get airplay, how often they get it, and when.

As you can imagine, a music director is an in-demand person with a lot of people wanting to talk to him.

So how does he deal with this?

The solution is often “phone hours,” where radio promoters and others looking to get music played on his radio station have to call during a certain window of time, perhaps as little 2-3 hours per week. This maximizes the music director’s phone time as well as allows him time to handle non-phone business.

If you absolutely must take phone calls, this is a good way to do it — let people come to you.

But before you do this, ask yourself if you really need to take phone calls at all…

The answer is probably no.

I think the phone is a great way to connect with people, but randomly opening yourself up to incoming calls, even during limited phone hours, may not be the best use of your time.

A Solution…

The phone is a great way to connect with people, but my solution for managing the possible timesuck that comes with it is to send people to Twitter first. Twitter is quick, since the messages are limited to 140 characters, and this forces people have to get to the point.

You could have people send something via email, but that’s going to open you up to some very long messages that don’t get to the point. Plus, people who send long messages often get pissed if you don’t send a long message back — with Twitter, since you’re response is also limited to 140 characters, your short reply is cool.

If the message you receive via Twitter is something important, you can always take it to email, phone, or in-person at that time.

Good luck!

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.

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