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Phone Free Nation
“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”
― Jack Kerouac
Imagine our world without cell phones. Impossible, how would we ever get anything done? I remember as a small child there being NO cell phones. A time when one could have an uninterrupted meal with family and friends and not hear GRRRRRRRRRRR, GRRRRRRRRRRRR, GRRRRRRRRRR.
My solution, put away your damn phone. There is a time and a place to make and take calls. When you are with another human, don’t do it. NO call is usually that important. If you own a business and you are having an issue with a client that needs attention, this rule does not apply, but honestly, this might occur one or two times a month. The rest of the calls most people take are only to tell the other person they are with another person and they will call them when done, very silly if you think about it.
With the 24 / 7 news cycle, we think that we have to be 24 / 7 accessible. Until recently this was me. I was there, you need me, and I’ll be here NO MATTER WHAT! Guess what, no one really needs you that bad. Hate to break it to you, but we are rarely as important as we think we might be. Remove yourself and the world would go on ticking just fine, remember that the next time you are with your family and your phone rings.
Training people to start texting you as opposed to calling you is pretty simple. On your new voice mail greeting that you are going to create today, simply tell folks that you check your voice mail once a day and that if this is an important matter, send you a text and you will return the call within the hour.
But isn’t texting the same as using your phone. Nope, looking at your texts after a meeting or family time is fine. DON’T check your phone for texts during “other human interaction”. It’s just plain rude.
Set your phone to one GRRRRRRRRRR instead of 3 for all texts received and turn your ringer off. YOU CAN’T answer your phone if you don’t know it is ringing. Try this experiment for one week. Go all 1982 on the world and see what happens. You might find out that you have much more free time that you actually thought you had. You might find that your stress level decreases 75%.
As “that guy”, the one that always had his phone handy, making and taking calls at a crazy ass pace, I can speak to both ways of life. My new limited phone life is much more pleasant and I’m pretty sure my coworkers and family appreciate the attention I can now give them.
Look at your co-workers, how many tasks can they complete without picking up their phone? How much more effective could they be if they did not look at their phone every 10 minutes. Think of this, distraction free work. This can be a reality. Managers of people, institute a NO PHONE AM policy for a week, see what happens. Have your employees forward all calls to the office number so if the school calls to tell your employee Mary that their son is sick, that call won’t be missed. You just might see an improvement in efficiency. I promise you, this will not be easy. People are now conditioned that their phone is just as important as their genitals and not allowing them to touch it will result in a very bad day. Work with me on this…. just try it.
“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry
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