I really dislike checking messages on my answering machine. That sounds very silly to many, but I think it is for a variety of reasons. Generally it is because it is complete strangers (even worse a computer voice / recorded message) wanting me to do something (vote), buy something, renew something, etc… Sometimes it is family and friends but generally the message is “I will try your cell phone”. Sometimes it is reminders of doctor’s appointments, but I rarely check them prior to the appointment because I have it in my calendar.
Then there is my email “in box”, my “sent box”, my “junk box”. The sad thing is between my personal email, I have three work email addresses. My personal email has many subscriptions to automatic delivery from favorite blogs that I intend to read. I am always hesitant to delete from my “boxes” because I may need them someday. I won’t even say how many unread messages I have, nor how far back the messages date to. I even have emails archived on a back up hard drive. Yes, I have issues and I resolve I want to go one day to a place with WIFI and clean them out. I just can’t bear to part with some because they may be something I really want to read. But think about it, if I haven’t read an email in over 1 month, 2 months, some 6 months, I hope it wasn’t important and probably won’t instantly change my life. (=
I also was one who was a person who vowed I never wanted to be able to “text”. I just needed a phone to make a call. Well, that trend ended quickly and I use text more than the phone. However, when I don’t get a text I get a little disappointed. For example, Mary has been at her aunt/uncles since Friday and some mornings I would get a text and others I didn’t – I missed the mornings I didn’t… not that she wasn’t okay but just to hear from her… but I always got my good-night one (= !!! I also get a little frustrated when my text is sent to someone and they don’t answer right away – although I am finding I am getting guilty of that. Most often I don’t respond because my phone is on vibrate and I don’t hear it. Sometimes it is because I am work, but then I try to do a quick text saying “at work, TTYL”. The problem with text for me, it is one more thing that I am awful at clearing out. I might need those messages… and some from people I have protected because it just may be something I like to read when I need a lift (like some of Mary’s Good-night texts when she is away or I am at work).
The other issue with messages and the new phones that continually deliver is that lives are constantly getting messages. I think it has taken away our focus. It is rare to not see an employee with their personal phone next to them. Checking messages between customers, waiting for elevators, walking down the street, etc… As a result, it takes away the focus from the task / the customer. One of the things Jim and I have worked on is during dinner / family time it is a phone free zone. The most important people are around the table. If there is a firecall, Jim’s scanner will go off. But by constantly checking email, facebook, texts – I don’t focus on what I need to. I am guilty too… if I have a spare moment waiting for an elevator, I am checking some kind of message. Hearing stories of wrecks/deaths as a result of texting stupid messages should be the wake up call, but it’s not. I do love Facebook to keep up with people, love emails when they are personal, etc… but that is not generally what takes up the time – it is the “junk” messages.
Other than sheer volume, there is really nothing with the messages I receive on a daily (often hourly basis). However, one element it has removed and I miss is the personal conversation. Hearing the excitement, the sadness, the loneliness, the happiness, etc.. in the voice. I feel like now we only squeeze in a moment for a text and don’t get the whole picture of what is going on in our family / our friends lives. And, not only do we squeeze in the moment, it is an abbreviated moment and don’t have the time to type the message out (i.e. ttyl – talk to you later, LOL – laugh out loud, etc..). Sometimes I get a message via text or email and I take the tone or the message the wrong way – then you are left wondering and/or hurt. I am a talker… I miss conversations… I miss knowing the story behind the message/text… I hate always getting an abbreviated version of a story (not in just getting a small text about a big event, but also the text is full of abbreviations… Everyone’s lives are so busy cramming so much into every moment that I think I am loosing out by squeezing a message instead of a conversation. I know teens are missing out on writing correctly, talking to people, etc… but every generation is at risk. I see older generations texting or on their phones everywhere too.
I think I have to do something in my own life about the messages coming in and going out. A few thoughts
- Remember that what I am working on or working with is more important than the “message” and if a message is important the phone will ring
- Clean out my email and unsubscribe to things that waste valuable time that I could be using for things that do
- Messages going out from me should be uplifting to the person receiving them and should not leave open questions on my tone / my meaning.
- Appreciate the message because the person thought of me – but don’t expect them and get disappointed – appreciate them “squeezing” me into their busy life!
- Answer promptly whenever possible and leave every message with a positive and “no reply necessary”. Avoid stupid messages that waste the recipients’ time.
- Text “can you talk” a little more frequently instead of a stream of texts
- Honor no texting in the car – including the “speak to text” app because it still takes off my focus off of driving and if family /friends in the car the conversation should be what is important. Plus if I am not talking to family / friends – my commute time is great for my talking to God time.
Ok… so I just signed up for a new text messaging as a result of this blog and searching on google for a good quote – LOL – https://www.lookup2him.com/default.aspx (it delivers a scripture every hour to my text — now that is the kind of message I need to be receiving!!!)
Love this if God text the 10 Commandments: http://churchm.ag/if-god-text-messaged-the-10-commandments/
P.s. I should have counted how many times my phone sounded with either a text, a facebook alert, an email alert while typing this….