The dreaded phone call. In 2021, is there anything worse than having to dial a person on a phone and—God forbid—talk to them? I admit it: phone call procrastination is my game. As an introvert and a millennial (albeit a geriatric one), there are few things I avoid more than phone calls. In a world of emails, texts, Slack, in-app live chats, and direct messages on every social media platform, there are a million and one ways to get ahold of people that don’t involve drumming up awkward small talk or catching them at a bad time.
As a busy mom and professional, my to-do list often feels never-ending. I can usually be found slicing through my agenda with ninja-like precision. However, if there is a phone call on that list, you can bet that 3-minute task will take me no less than 3 weeks to complete.
Sharing that I have phone call procrastination feels like such a ridiculous thing to admit.
It’s not that I’m afraid of talking to other people. As a mom of three young kids, I speak no less than three million sentences per day. As a lawyer, I’ve stood in a packed court fielding question after question about my case.
As a public figure, I’ve spoken on stage about controversial topics like pregnancy discrimination and the wage gap. I can make small talk in an elevator or riff on the weather with the best of them. But, dialing seven digits and anxiously waiting for someone to pick up? No thanks.
Here are a few reasons why a quick phone call is never at the top of my to-do list:
1. I resent it.
There, I said it. See the aforementioned list of ways there are to get in touch with people. In most cases, at least in my life, communication can quickly be done by text or email. This means I can fire off a message on my terms without worrying about where I am or what I’m doing. Having to make a phone call always makes me wonder why we haven’t simply done away with this outdated mode of communication. This brings me to my next point.
2. My life is loud.
When I can communicate a message by text or email, I don’t have to ask the kids to quiet down or worry if the person I’m speaking with can hear the whir of traffic in the background. I don’t need to engage in a delicate dance of pleasantries or apologize for the chaos that obviously surrounds me. Phone calls require an extra level of planning and energy that just feels exhausting and unnecessary.
3. My brain is a trickster.
Like a lot of people, I tend to experience a bit of social anxiety when communicating one-on-one. This isn’t to say that I can’t do it or that I don’t do it well, but live communication comes with the added bonus of second guessing my every word and replaying the conversation over and over again later. I don’t know about you, but that’s one track I’m happy to skip.
4. It’s just not a priority.
This is probably the main reason for my phone call procrastination. When my to-do list is a mile long and counting, I have to prioritize each item and decide which comes first. With deadlines for work and school, appointments, household management, self-care, and of course the unexpected events that undoubtedly occur, I can’t get to every task right away. Chances are, that three-minute nuisance phone call I’m dreading isn’t a high priority item and tackling it won’t give me the same rush as, say, firing off a submission before its deadline or finally folding that giant pile of laundry.
So, there you have it.
Life is loud and messy and phone calls are unnecessary. If I owe you a call, please don’t take it personally. But, do maybe consider sending me a text.
Where are my fellow phone call procrastinators?
Do you have a seemingly simple task that you always put off?