It was "informal research," but here's what I learned:
I asked 22 people if they slept with their SmartPhone within arms-reach. 13 of them said, "Yes." (Then, they told me why...there were some really good reasons.")
Of the 13 that DID, I asked a follow up question, "Do you remember, anytime in the last week or so, getting a message [text message, phone call, or email] sometime during the time you were sleeping?"
Again, the answer was an overwhelming yes; and, again, the reasons why. When we talked about it further, we realized that a reason (of the many I heard) sounded something like this:
"The person who emailed me knew I was sleeping, but they wanted to get the thing they were thinking about in to my world as soon as possible." Has this ever happened to you?
When was the last time you thought of something to tell someone...but, they were not "right there?" You know, you're at home, and you think of something to tell someone at work. Or, you're out at a movie, and you think of something to tell a work colleague. Well, what do you do?
Call them? IM them? Write an Email? Send a text message?
"Just do it," that now-famous Nike slogan, actually creates more interruptions than most people can handle. What if, instead of sending "a message at a time," you saved them up. Then, at a predetermined time, you interrupt (what I call "meet") someone and go through your collected list of items to discuss?
Here's an experiment: For a few days, "bunch and discuss."
Here's the idea: Since there is a constant stream of thoughts you have that come in at all kinds of random times. In traffic. At dinner. While you're in line at the coffee shop... and, during these thoughts you no doubt think of someone you need to talk to - in life, or at work.
So, get a note card or dedicate a page in your notebook to a single person you talk to A LOT during each week. To start, you could implement this at work. Simply save a page in your notebook for each person:
- Your boss
- A couple of co workers
- A direct report, intern or new hire
And, you can decide if you'd like to do this for your life as well. A page for your coach, your financial advisor, your spouse, your kids...
Then, when you think of something to tell one of those folks, simply turn to the page and write it down. See if you can rite down a few things during the day to see what it would be like if you "bunch and discuss." I have found this to be a great way to save time and bring them the information you need, as you need it.
I think it makes more or most sense to interrupt someone one time with 3 or 5 things to discuss, more than 3 or 5 times with one thing to talk about at a time.
Personally, I wouldn't work without agendas. Give it a try just for 5 days, and see what you come up with!