Yes, it’s the flavor of the month in self-help right now, but it really is important. I’d like to share an aspect of mindfulness that I think is not explored sufficiently. Let’s start with an exercise. Pull up the list of inbound calls from your phone. Now, list all the ones that you answered while you were in the middle of something else. Whether you were talking to someone, working on a project, attending a meeting, or something else, note it. Now here’s where the rubber meets the road. For each one of them, would calling them back later have made a significant difference in the outcome?
If your clients and co-workers expect you to hop to and answer whenever they call you’ve got a problem. Here’s a solution you might try. Explain that you want to be sure to give every conversation 100% of your attention, so you will not be answering calls if you’re in the middle of something. You will return their call within (a reasonable timeframe for your life and industry). Set this expectation with new relationships, both business and personal. Record a voicemail greeting that reiterates this expectation. I like to add, “if this is more urgent, please text.” You still should not be checking texts, but you can review them more quickly and respond once you are available. For the voicemail messages, set aside time each day, whether once or more frequently is up to you. Once clients and others in your life become accustomed to your cadence of reply they will depend on it and not be upset if they don’t get an immediate response. I have a realtor friend who almost never answers her business line. It’s just understood by everyone that she returns calls a few times a day. If it’s something urgent, her clients have been trained to text her.
would calling them back later have made a significant difference in the outcome?
Your phone is a tool. Just because it’s portable and you CAN get calls any time and anywhere doesn’t mean you have to answer. Focus on the conversation with your loved ones. Listen to the meeting even if you already know everything. There just might be one new critical detail or comment that you miss because you weren’t being mindful.
Mindfulness. Being in the moment. When you are constantly listening for pings or checking in, you’re not able to be 100% present. You’re attention is, by definition divided.
Turn it off.
Leave it at home or in the other room.
Be present. Learn to be mindful. You’ll be surprised by what you have been missing!