The internet is full of time management tips and tricks, life hacks, and apps that are meant to make our lives easier, our tasks more convenient, and give us more time for the things we actually want to be doing.
Unfortunately, as tasks get easier, the expectations we have for ourselves and others increase. Yes, emailing and texting are easier and shorter than writing and mailing long-form letters, and our smart phones are right at the tip of our fingers all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to reply to 100 emails and 700 texts every day!
It’s easy to think that we can just shoot off a quick message, it won’t interrupt our flow. The reality for many is that we spend all day interrupting our focused work or time that’s meant to be dedicated to things like recreation or family just shooting off quick messages. The result is a constant state of distraction, and if you’re distracting yourself from focused work, a constant state of trying to get back in the flow of things.
If you want to have a full conversation with someone, call or meet them in person. Not only will it be a shorter conversation, it will be clearer, help build your relationship, will be a more rewarding experience. Save texts for brief check-ins or confirmations, or for communicating that you’d like to talk to the person when they are available.
If an in-person meeting or phone call is an option, don’t email them without a good reason to do so. Sure, if they have specifically asked you to, take the time to email them. On the other hand, if you’re emailing because you’re responding late at night, it may be better to write yourself some notes about what you wanted to say and give them a call the next day.
While some are very skilled at brief communication, such as the eminently tweetable Michael Hyatt, most of us struggle to communicate tone successfully through text or email. While it may feel like more time at first because you have to schedule it, doing the bulk of your communicating verbally will improve communication, build relationships, and save you time overall.
Spend the next week limiting your texts and emails, increase the in-person or verbal communicating that you are doing, and let me know how it goes in the comments below.
It may take some time for the people in your life to understand this is how you prefer to communicate, but stick with it. As you eliminate more and more of the small demands on your time, you’ll see the time they once represented open up.