Find an Extra Hour

People get pissed at me on a regular basis. My son especially. Why, you ask? Because I don’t instantaneously respond to my texts. Yes, I do understand others’ displeasure with me, and there have been some beauties that I’ve put on hold or not checked, and later had to diffuse the stickiness that ensued.  But I understand this perspective only to a certain degree. One thing organization is synonymous with is productivity. It is so much more difficult for a person to be productive when he or she is attached to a phone, responding to other people’s needs, wants, and chuckles at a whim. There is however, a time and a place for everything. Let’s chat about how to find this balance, if and when possible, and make it work.

     To be honest, I’m sitting here now, writing this blog and my phone is blowing up. As I glance over, I see there are work queries, “mom/village” discussions, a friend needing some serious support, and a sale alert from Lord and Taylor. I’m completely drawn to the friend needing support. A good friend would attend to that text, right?  However, I’ve been talking her through the better part of the morning, and I know that it is fine if I respond later. I’ve let her know that I’m on lockdown. Perhaps setting up a time to actually talk, (Ha! Remember those days?) would be a better option? If I responded to all those texts in real time, there is no way in hell this post would get written. “What’s a few texts,” you ask? Well, we all know how it goes. We fall into the pit of back and forth responses and more incoming texts. My work is more important right now. The texts can wait. 

     Brendon Burchard, motivational speaker, high performance coach, and author has spoken about responding to texts and emails, and how a person is rushing to check off someone else’s “to do” list when they feel compelled to answer right away. Just because the message is sent, does not mean that we have to jump at it. Brendon doesn’t even look at his emails or texts before his morning ritual is complete, and I can happily say that I have done the same, myself, for many years. He talks about having set times during the day to check and respond to text messages, emails, and social media, thereby giving yourself a good chunk of time to get things done and accomplish what needs to happen. The messages get sent and checked, but it’s on your terms, and you haven’t fallen behind with your own needs.

     I know, there are times when you need those answers right away. On other occasions you can give those answers quickly, as well, helping someone out. A friend responded to me rather swiftly while I was in B.J’s and had a question about what kind of meat I should use for a specific recipe. She prevented me from buying the wrong one and I’m grateful for that. If I hadn’t gotten a response would it have been so terrible for me? I would have been making a different recipe than that of which I planned, but clearly, my world did not end. About a week later I did not check my phone and my mother had asked if I wanted her to pick up my favorite salad from Costco (see how the tag team Costco/BJ’s thing works?) Well, I missed out there and did not get the Mediterranean blend. Again, the earth still spun and I still managed to eat my greens that week. 

     Are you afraid your kid might be sick, and there might be a message from the school? Yes, I have those same thoughts. What went on before cell phones though? Oh yeah, the emergency contact was called. I can recall a few times my mother couldn’t be reached and I spent a pleasant afternoon with my Aunt Marie, on the couch in her basement. We survived. We found a way. It was all good. I look at my son now and can’t help but think of a Pavlovian response every time his phone buzzes. He pulls his phone from his pocket to check right away in case any of “the boys” are texting him, just as those dogs salivated as soon as they heard the bell. Doesn’t Luke realize that I am sitting across from him, and he is probably engaged in the most stimulating conversation he will have all day? Insert chuckle. In addition to missing out on our moments to be productive, helping out lives to run a little more fluidly, we are also missing out on the world around us, connecting with the people right next to us. But we won’t even get into the connection issue here.

    So if you are wondering how you are going to add an hour into your day to get more accomplished, put down the phone for a bit. Let’s set the new norm. The extra time we need is right here for the taking! Even the Facebook posts/comments/recommendations/rants can wait. Yes, you will be setting a good example for your kids, and be able to connect with the world and people around you, but even better is that  you can get more $h!t done! It’s another win, win, win! Now off to tend to those texts…

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