It is probably not common knowledge that I have an ‘annoying’ habit of not picking up calls. It is largely not deliberate but it has come to become a life hack that helps me with my information overload. I basically read everything I stumble on and my job leading a team with mostly intern – level skill set, training and consistently supervising require a lot of focus and giving room to very little distraction. My way of doing that is almost perpetually leaving my phone on silent – at least that was until I had children.
How I manage my inbox, calendar, and to-dos? I get a lot of emails, actually a lot of messages in general, and my to-do to my daily calendar is pretty full. To mentally manage it all, I try to focus on the biggest issues. Sometimes I’ll ignore my email for a few days, with the expectation that if something really important came up, it would find itself to the top of the pile. People will either resend their emails or Whatsapp, SMS me or just come find me (I hate the later though).
This method is wonderfully effective at keeping your sanity. A lot of problems solve themselves, and trying to focus on all the details at the same time is exhausting. A friend of mine who worked in IT noticed that if he called people back the same day, he would be very busy solving their problems. But if he waited one day before he called back, 90% of the problems had already solved themselves. So often I’ll focus on the bigger issues in my life and optimistically ignore the other stuff.
Of course, this hack has its downsides but you’d have to be one for the other – if you catch my drift. Sometimes ignoring the details can have consequences. Sometimes I have to admit I screwed up