Another year without taking incoming calls
Last year marks the second year in my slow time lifestyle. No texts, no phone calls or push notifications interfering when I’m doing something else.
About two years ago I read both Timothy Ferriss’ ”The 4-Hour Workweek” as well as ”Rework” by the guys at 37signals. Both these books promote a new way of working, or better put, a more efficient way of working. Our lives are full of digital distractions, which all try to steal away our attention when we really need to do something else.
Instead of just reading and agreeing, I decided to follow up on the advice and silenced my gadgets. My phone doesn’t sound nor vibrate when someone calls, texts or tries to contact me in any way. My emails doesn’t get pushed to my phone and are only downloaded at my command.
The slow time philosophy
There are very little things that require immediate action, yet there are plenty of people who think their task or communication is more important than what you’re doing. This can be your boss or a friend. Most of the time they don’t even realize their communication is a disturbance.
As someone who needs some time to get into my flow, theses disturbances are both annoying and counter productive. Each interruption requires me to get into my zone again. By letting me getting back to you later, you allow me to get more stuff done, in less time.
Asynchronous communication is what you’re looking for. Text, email, IM, group chats and voicemail. Scheduling phone calls is another option, since it allows you to communicate on your own terms. You can even introduce library rules at your office.
Additionally, I love not being disturbed when not working. I really hated my phone calling for attention when I was having a good conversation or when watching a good movie. Don’t be a slave to your smartphone or computer.
I’ve noticed that people have started calling me less in the past year. Instead they text or email me. When I give someone my phone number, I simply tell them they should try to email me first. They often end up calling anyway, but switch to email/text when I don’t answer after trying multiple times.
Some people questioned my so-called ‘experiment’ and wondered whether someone could function in such a connected society. Others supported my quest for more productivity and someone even sent me a funny comic.
These simple ways of reducing distractions and disturbances has fundamentally changed how I work. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a Twitter client installed, but it’s probably not running when I’m working on something complicated.
If you’re looking for New Year’s resolutions, give the slow time lifestyle a try.