phone avoidance

I have an increasing aversion to the telephone. In fact, I gave up my desk phone at work years ago. I am not anti-social. Phone calls just are not part of how I process work. For three reasons:

1. Workflow. I use email for my  workflow (here's how: Phone calls and voicemails do not fit into that effectively. They are interruptive and cannot be prioritized.

2. Record keeping. When I do participate in a phone call, I have to take notes in an email to myself. Otherwise there is little chance I will remember what was discussed once I hang-up the phone. Putting the discussion in email to begin with is more efficient for keeping a history.

3. Involving other people. Most of what I do involves other people. If someone calls me with information, it is likely that I am going to have to relay that information to someone else. And that person may have questions of the caller. Starting an email thread is much more efficient.

Of course there are exceptions to this where phone calls are appropriate and preferred: Emergencies and urgent problems, and conference calls (or video conferences, which we use extensively at Google) where a large group of people need to discuss an issue. But conference calls and video conferences are scheduled, and therefore not disruptive to workflow.

I've also found that some company communication cultures are "phone based" or "email based." Google is very much an email based culture.

I'm thinking about changing my outgoing voicemail message requesting people to send me an email instead of leaving a voicemail.

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