Photo by Mike…
During my recent blog reading, I came across the article over at Cranking Widgets, “Why I Never Turn Off My Cell Phone”. Brett takes a rather defensive tone while explaining that his cell phone remains on. I was planning on commenting on the article, but I realized I had a lot to say. So here goes.
I agree with Brett. I don’t turn my cell phone off. And I also don’t think that turning a cell phone off is necessarily the key to productivity. I think the key is how you use the phone.
Why I Have a Cell Phone
I bought a cell phone after my daughter was born. As a consultant, I move around quite a bit (well, I used to). If there was an emergency, I needed a way for people to contact me directly, rather than going through our company switchboard and have them figure out where I was. I use my cell phone daily. But the key to using it, rather than being owned by it, lies in managing usage.
I set very strict ground rules for my cell phone. I decide who gets the number, and when I will answer calls from certain people.
Giving number out
My cell number is not public property. My family has it, certain friends, and my work. At work it is marked “for emergency use only.”
Recently a client asked for for my cell phone number. I refused. I told him that I do not give my cell phone out to clients. Period. Those who do get my cell phone number are told of my policy and I have never had a single one of them give my number out, either.
I have a minimal phone. It is an older model too, no fancy video or anything like that. One feature I love on it, and use daily, are the ring profiles. I can group my incoming callers into groups, and decide who I want to ring through and who will go to voice mail. Anyone whose number is not on my phone automatically goes to voice mail. So at work I will allow calls from my husband, the school, the daycare and the main office. At home in the evenings I allow only calls from friends and family.
Yes, I keep my cell phone on. But by taking calls on my terms, I limit the effect on my productivity.