A quest to tame technology-driven interruptions and distractions in my daily life.

Archive for July, 2014

A time to text, a time to email, a time to call

There’s something that’s really been bothering me and I need to get it off my chest. And let me preface this by saying that I don’t think this is particular to me and my idiosyncratic, self-imposed tech boundaries. This seems to me to be a matter of basic manners, once you give it some thought.

In the world of professional (and possibly personal) communications, there’s some new conventional wisdom that goes something like this: if an email gets too long, pick up the phone. Or: if you’re emailing something you wouldn’t say in person, don’t email it, call or meet. Today, I want to add one: texting is not an appropriate mode of communication for contentious or stressful messages.

Think about it. Someone calls you, and you’ve got the opportunity to let it go to voicemail or to answer it depending on if you want to have that conversation. Someone emails you and you choose when you are on email and if you want to read that email right then. But someone texts you and BOOM you are reading the message. It’s just the nature of texts. Ready or not, they pop up and tell you what they are.


Most sensible people wouldn’t just burst into a room or but into a conversation to start telling you a bunch of stressful shit. Rather, the thing to do is to say, “hey, is this a good time?” or “let me know when you can talk about something.” This involves about 20 more seconds of your time, but saves the recipient the moment-derailing interruption should they not care to hear about it.

Meanwhile, even though texting is a way my wife and I communicate about childcare and his diabetes management during the day, I’m strongly considering trying to alter my text app settings to filter out work messages or to have them not pop up. Either that or I’m going to have to stop giving our my cell phone. Because it seems like what should be common sense has become a blurred line.

After all, why wait for a reply to an email when you can just text and get the answer right this very second.