Text messages are distracting.
They interrupt your flow. They cut hard work short. Important tasks take a back seat to the urgency of a text message, regardless of how trivial the content of that message is.
I especially despise the ones that begin, “Hey Mike!” or, “Got a minute?”
No, I don’t got a minute, man, and when you send a text message like that, I know it's not just a text, it's a conversation.
Yes, texts are an amazing instant communication tool. No, I'm not suggesting we turn text messaging off completely. It's just that the assumed commitment to a conversation is what often derails from our work. And losing focus is exactly what separates the busy from the productive.
So, how do we keep our ability to stay in immediate touch without disabling texts completely?
Turn on read receipts.
Yes, read receipts. That feature that alerts people who text you that you’ve read their message. That feature you turned off the moment you got your phone.
You've got to turn that back on.
The reason is simple: When read receipts are on, others will know immediately if you have read their message. As such, you'll feel obligated to respond. You wouldn't want to turn your back on someone who catches your eye and talks to you in person. Neither would you want your text-messaging buddy to know that you've seen their message but just aren't going to respond.
When read receipts are off, you can pretend to stay hidden. You can avoid responding to others. But because the sender knows texts are an "immediate communications tool," and because they won't know if you have read their message or not, they will assume you have, and so will find other ways to get a hold of you (or assume you're being an unresponsive ass).
When read receipts are on, you can't pretend anymore. But neither can the original texter.
They can't pretend you haven't read their message because they know you haven't read their message. They can't be upset you're not responding because they know you haven't seen what they've sent.
And because of that, you are free to keep on working. More so, though you'll hear the pleasant *ding* of a text message notification coming in, you won't be inclined to address it immediately. You'll know, the second you open that message, a little "Read" marker will show up on your partners phone and you'll be engaged... your work will end and the conversation will begin.
Stop pretending. Stop hiding. Let people know when you're not available automatically.
Turn on read receipts, and stay focused on your important work.
About the Author
Loves Productivity, Hates texts, Helps Entrepreneurs
I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.
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