We live in an age of instant communication. We can be contacted 24/7 through mobile telephone calls, emails, twitter messages, Facebook posts, texts, etc. Not so many years ago, the only way I could contact my friends was to queue outside the telephone box with my handful of 2p pieces!
In many ways we have become too “contactable” and there is a danger that communication controls us and not vice versa. We need to exhibit control in when we are to be contacted, by whom, and for how long.
One of my Christmas presents was Alan Sugar’s autobiography, “What You See is What You Get”. I must admit that I’ve found it a really enjoyable read, and Lord Sugar readily admits that he has no time for small talk or time wasters. His conversations are precise and controlled, and as we all know he avoids “schmoozers and arse-lickers”.
I am very aware of ‘time-stealers’ and the users of mobile phones are amongst the biggest offenders. I have never particularly liked phones of any sort, and my telephone conversations are always limited to less than a minute (unless it’s calls from family). I can’t wait to turn my phone off in the evening, and if I don’t recognise a number calling me then I will always let it ring to the voice-mail.
Some of my students will openly admit that they keep their mobile phones switched on under their pillows at night, “just in case somebody needs to text me at 3am”! A real pet-hate of mine is the use of mobile phones in the gym – why on Earth do people have to take their phones with them when they are working out? The younger members of the gym are particularly guilty of allowing their training to be interrupted by a phone call – invariably it’s social, and could have waited.
Do we really live in a society that is so desperate for communication? The mobile phone has become a tool of comfort for many – they only feel needed when they receive a text, or follow somebody on twitter (why do people waste their time following others? Are their lives really so meaningless?).
The message here is quite clear – who is in control, you or your mobile phone? Avoid time stealers. When responding to a phone call, unless you really want to know, avoid those fateful three words – “How are you?”. Try to keep your conversations to less than a minute. If you’re busy, let the call go to voice-mail. Have two separate phone accounts, one for business and one for family. Whatever it takes, BE IN CONTROL.
And if you ever see me in the gym, hide your mobile phone. Dumbbells have a habit of slipping just when least expected!