Do You Feel the Need to Answer the Phone in the Toilet?

If you do you may be suffering from “immediate response syndrome”.  This may resonate with you if you feel you could not be parted from your phone, email, or text messaging device for more then a few minutes, let alone hours.

 It is the new worldwide phenomenon and has been brought about by the natural tendency to want to respond to a request, in whatever format, as it arrives.  The extreme of this can be witnessed when you hear someone answering the phone whilst they are on the toilet.  It’s a good thing they are not automatically switched to video phone!

Do we want all our communication to be urgent

Tests show that if you answer your phone, text message or email as soon as you see that tempting icon that says that “You’ve Got Mail”, then you are saying to the person who sent it that you are always available, and that they can leave it till the last minute to do so.  Hence all your communication will be urgent – no wonder you are worried that you may not be there to respond immediately and in fact you could be leaving the other person vulnerable if this happened to be the time that you could not answer their urgent request immediately.

But do we want all our communication to be urgent?  The truth is that no one probably ever wanted this to happen, it just creeps up on you.

There is a cure 

The cure is to allow the phone to go to answer phone, (in the short term you can check the answer phone immediately to see if it’s truly urgent and if not do not respond immediately).  Don’t answer text messages for at least half an hour unless it is absolutely vital, in time they will get less.  Do your emails in batches so there are natural time breaks before they get a response.  In the short  term you can scan them for the really urgent and only deal with those.

If you start building the gaps into your communication cycle then those who want to contact you will realise that they must get in touch with you sooner, which in turn gives you longer to answer them, and takes the stress out of the situation.