Why I rarely answer unscheduled phone calls — and what I do instead of talking on the phone. This is my phone policy.
by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Who you gonna call?
This tweet has been doing the rounds on social media lately, and quite a few dear friends have been kind enough to name me publicly:
And yes, tagging me is totally fair. Ever since getting my first mobile phone, I’ve almost never answered unscheduled phone calls.
My Personal Phone Policy
Situations when I’m not going to pick up the phone:
While hanging out with my son.
While spending time with my wife.
While with friends and family.
While in traffic.
While thinking about solutions for my clients’ problems.
While in a business meeting.
While writing or creating.
While sleeping (or having sex).
While at the gym or out running.
While in the bathroom.
While doing housework (laundry, cooking, cleaning etc.)
While eating (or drinking).
While watching Game of Thrones.
While grocery shopping, picking up my son at kindergarten, or any other type of public activity.
Situations when I’m going to pick up the phone:
When I’m close to my phone when it rings, and none of the above scenarios apply, and the phone number is already in my contact list belonging to someone, who for some reason, should be unable to send a text message or an email.
When kindergarten staff calls.
When my mother calls.
The Answer: Send a Text Message
Is there a potential crisis? Why not send a text message along these lines:
If you’re my client and you send me a text like that, I would walk out from my own wedding to take the call. (I actually did just that.)
Want to just have a casual conversation between friends? Sure, here’s a template for such occasions:
And yes, I’ve gotten loads of snarky remarks like:
Well, you don’t see me crying myself to sleep, do you? If someone thinks that my expertise is so easily replaced, we shouldn’t be working together anyway.
And, according to my boss1, being available for random phone calls is not actually in my job description.