I think it’s fair to say that everybody has a bee in their bonnet about something. I have a bee in my bonnet about something that won’t go away. It is why on earth it is that when you send someone a text they respond by actually telephoning you.
Firstly, of course in the world of business sometimes a phone call only will suffice. The communication may be too wordy for a text. I can grant you that one. Although I have a business colleague who will call me about something current and ten minutes later he’s telling me about something that happened to him in his business world ten years ago and is totally irrelevant to now.
Is it not fair to say that if I text you it should be abundantly clear that I don’t actually want to speak to you? It’s not that I don’t want to speak to you ever again. It’s simply that at that moment in time I don’t want to.
I think it may be a generational thing. Young folk know how to handle the new etiquette of a phone. I can’t imagine anyone under 30 doing anything much more than texting when it comes to communication. Texting in all its myriad forms whether it’s Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, What’s App or Twitter’s DMs.
I spend a fair bit of time writing. Feature articles about business, motivational talks about happiness, blogs, podcasts and more latterly books and when I’m not doing that you may find me drawing up modules for classes in Public Speaking. And on it goes. And what works for me is that I have to get into a ‘zone’ just like the preparation for a broadcast or a public speaking event in order to get ahead with the writing. Within that zone there is a rhythm. And although I am far from being a top writer even I need to stay within that flow of ideas which become written words, sentences, paragraphs and the finished piece. I can take a short break and tweet or send you a text. My environment is still quiet. But when the damn phone rings that quietude is gone.
But it gets worse. Whatever thread was lashing around my head, whatever train of thought was there, it has now been interrupted and my head is full of whatever you said on the phone. Then with the concentration gone I will probably stop off in the kitchen and have a cuppa. Well, that’s the writing parked for a while.
I love mobile phones. I love the way they bring the big, exciting world into our lives with the press of a button. But when you’re trying to write, brainstorm, or do creative work, those interruptions make it hard to stay in the zone and finish the task at hand. I picked up a bit of advice on the subject which recommended that in order to stem the back-and-forth of a text conversation from derailing your train of thought, set a three-response limit for any text exchange. After that, suggest moving the thread to email or if convenient geographically, meeting in person to finish the conversation.
That might suit some but not me. I wouldn’t limit a text to three. Text away at me. But please, oh please, unless it’s an emergency or a real business call that’s relevant, do not call me.
The bee is still in my bonnet.
Bibi Baskin lived in India for fifteen years where the holistic Wellness system, Ayurveda, was a prominent part of her life. She now lives in Cork and gives talks/workshops to corporates and individuals on Mindfulness, Meditation and Public Speaking. Her book, Bibi’s Wellness Wisdom was published in December 2019. www.bibibaskin.ie