Are you on fire? Are you stranded on the highway? Are you being attacked? If not, why are you calling me on the phone?? We need to stop this people.
Stop wasting people’s time. Time is a commodity that we need to manage, we need to dominate time. It’s not something that is endlessly expendable. The only time you should be on the phone is when you’re doing business.
Stop allowing people to waste your time. Stop accepting phone calls from people you know will take 30, 60 or 90+ minutes from you.
You can’t be the go-to person for all your friends’ problems. Women are notorious for this.
I’m not saying to be a jerk and never talk on the phone. But you need to put up some boundaries around when you’ll talk on the phone, how long you’ll talk and most importantly of all, you need to differentiate between needing to talk to someone and wanting to talk to someone.
Gone are the days of endlessly gabbing on the phone. One of my best friends from high school and I were just laughing about this. Who has time to talk on the phone anymore?
How about 10 minute bursts? (You don’t have to literally time yourself), but I’d rather catch up with the people who matter to me in short little bursts then wait weeks on end to talk to them for an extended period of time because our lives are so busy.
We allow people to waste our time because we’ve internalized the people-pleasing gene. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings and if someone is in a difficult situation, we think it’s our duty and responsibility as nurturers to help them out.
We also allow people to waste our time because we’ll do anything to avoid conflict. Wow, do women hate confrontation. We’ll do ANYTHING to avoid confrontation. I’ve known women who’ve been talked into baking wedding cakes (FOR FREE) and they’re not even bakers; to women who’ve offered to dog sit for weeks on end without compensation; to women who’ve proofread and edited someone’s work only to not have that favor reciprocated, and these women could not stop saying yes (that’s another upcoming post!).
TIP: Come up with a courteous professional-sounding statement that you can use on people the next time you need to cut a conversation short. For instance: “I’d love to hear more about this, but unfortunately now is not a good time for me. Perhaps we can discuss at a later date. I hope everything works out well.” (Note: this is obviously not to be used for people on the brink of a major personal catastrophe).
Be prepared to be interrogated for saying no to others. People will want to know why. They’ll guilt you into helping, talking or listening to their problems. You don’t need to provide excuses or justify why you’re not available.
Remember: Are they on fire, is it an emergency? If not, you know what to do now.