Isn’t it wonderful that it is so easy to keep in touch? Mobile phones, email, tablets, text messages, video chat… the list seems endless. If you need to get in touch with someone or if you just feel like catching up or sharing your latest news, it has never been easier.
This ease of communication is a double-edged sword because it means that it’s also easy for other people to get in touch with YOU. Even (or should I say “especially”) when you don’t want to be interrupted.
That’s the stressor I’m talking about here: the telephone in all of its various forms. For some reason, we feel compelled to answer the phone when it rings. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night or what we are doing at the time, if the phone rings we rush to answer it.
Driving? Sure, just press the Bluetooth and talk into your headset.
Cooking? No problem. Just hold the phone between your ear and shoulder and start yakking away.
During intimacy? Yep; he or she can wait a few minutes while you tell that one last story to the friend you just left an hour ago.
You know who you are. A ringing phone is a compelling reason to interrupt just about anything that you are doing. No matter what. Period.
Here’s the rub… interruptions are stressful, especially when they turn out to be unnecessary and/or if the interrupted task is difficult and/or it’s difficult to get to the phone.
Curiously there is a very simple solution that will eliminate all that stress from your life and here it is: turn it off! (You can always simply ignore the ring and let it go to voicemail, but that in and of itself is stressful!)
It’s that simple. If you are rushed and don’t have time to talk, turn the phone off. You can return calls and talk all you want, but on YOUR terms not theirs.
Does this sound selfish to you? Maybe it is, but there is no rule or law that says that you have to be available whenever someone wants you to be. No one can or should live up to that kind of responsibility.
Like most things in life, answering the phone is a choice. Yes, that’s right, answering the phone is a choice! If you choose to be available then you can’t complain when you are interrupted by a caller.
“Choose to be available?” you say? “But that’s not fair, I can’t control who calls me or when!”
While it’s true that you can’t control who calls you and when, you CAN control whether or not you answer those calls or are even aware of them. Don’t want to be interrupted? Turn off the phone! It’s that simple.
Expecting an important call? Well, you’ll just have to leave the phone on and take your chances. With caller ID, however, you may be able to tell when it’s NOT the call you’re waiting for and simply let it go to voicemail so you can return the call when convenient FOR YOU. If you do answer the phone and it is NOT the call you’re waiting for, be brave and politely but firmly tell them that you’ll call them later. If that is difficult for you, remember this: the stress of doing that is nothing compared to the stress of talking to someone when you know you might miss something important.