What I learnt from going phoneless for two months
Nowadays, we live in rush hour. Everything is urgent. All tasks are for ASAP, deadlines are crucial, and the project should have been completed yesterday.
The fact that we carry our personal computer (aka ‘smartphone’) in our pockets makes it even easier to reach out at whatever time, regardless of whether you are working or not.
We have come to this absurd point: if you are reachable, you are working.
Some background: my Nexus 5’s charging pin broke on my second day of holidays in Greece. I was on a small island (Amorgos) and a strict travel plan I needed to adhere to. This plan did not include visiting any place where I could get it fixed. After my holidays, I engaged in a back-and-forth struggle with customer assistance, who was refusing to fix the phone even if it had a valid warranty.
All in all, for two months I went phoneless, and I learnt a thing or two.
1. Nothing is really urgent
Maybe not nothing, but rarely ever something will be a matter of life and death.
Think of the last three times you had an emergency. What did you do instinctively? Call for help.
When you are in a hurry and call for help, Murphy’s law makes it dead sure everyone’s cell phone is off, wifi is not working and you’re stranded. Then you start figuring out how to solve the problem.
Next time you’re in an emergency, try to work out the problem first and if you can’t solve it, ask for help.
Most people will understand that you were busy, or your phone was broken.
2. No one depends only on you
Luckily enough, no one on this planet depends only and exclusively on me.
This will be the case for many of you, if not most. That is, if someone wants to reach out and they can’t find you, they will be forced to find an alternative.
When we’re worried about not being reachable, we’re indulging in some serious FOMO (fear of missing out). If my phone is not working, I will miss out on everybody’s updates. Or else, I won’t be reachable if my grandmother needs assistance.
FOMO causes only stress. Get rid of it, and you’ll live happier.
Rarely ever they will need to contact only you.
3. Some businesses can be phoneless
Even if you’re on holiday, as a founder of a business, you need to keep an eye on your venture.
At MarsBased, we work mostly with medium- and big-sized companies that need to outsource their development. Our project average length is 3–4 months of work, so we don’t get a client every day. And actually, most of our clients are found using inbound marketing, so it’s difficult to predict when they will want to chat with us.
During my phoneless months, I did not receive a single email telling me “I was trying to call you and you never seem to be reachable”. At most, I received some whatsapps from my family asking if I was OK, but nothing related to clients or business stuff.
Come to think of it, as a business that relies almost 100% on inbound marketing, what good is a phone number? Phone calls are still not easy to track or introduce in the CRM, just like an email.
So I inspected our CRM and found that only two opportunities came directly through the phone in two years, and they ended up not qualifying as potential customers for MarsBased.
Are we facing the end of the telephone era for business? What happened the last time you went phoneless for a while?
This post was originally published on Medium on 2016-02-29: What I learnt from going phoneless for two months.