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February 19, 2009

I get a lot of phone calls during the day. Perhaps not as many as your typical CEO, but enough to drive me bugshit. I thought that once I stopped ghostwriting, the phone calls would stop.


And the e-mails. Friends checking up on me, former clients asking if I’ll take just one more project. The stream never seems to abate, and my inbox never stays clear for more than an hour at a time.

Modern technology is a convenience without which most of us couldn’t happily live now we know it exists, but sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. No longer is it difficult to get in touch with others; a click of a button, and you’ve interrupted someone’s life.

And that’s what it is: an interruption. I realize that an issue might seem pressing to you, a matter of utmost importance, but to the recipient it might not be much more than a nuissance. When you’re firing off 15 e-mails a day to just one person, it’s time to evaluate the purpose of each message and the actual urgency of the communication.

The same goes for phone calls. I’ve tried to tell people over and over again that I can’t work if I’m on the telephone, but they don’t hear me. Even now, when I don’t have any ghostwriting projects under my belt, I’m still inundated with phone calls every day of the week.

So many that I have to change my ring tone at least once a month so the sound of one tune or another doesn’t induce immediate seizures.

This past weekend, I said to my husband: “Okay, I love my friends, I love my family, I love my former clients…but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” I explained that I was instigating a moritoreum on communication. “Silence,” I said. “That’s all I want.”

So I turned off the computer and my cell phone Friday night and I didn’t communicate with anyone other than my husband until Monday morning. It was a blissful weekend, two days filled with blessed silence and no interruptions; I was free to watch television, read books, play card games, engage in endless activities that require no more than two very specific people.

Then Monday morning rolled around and I fired up all the gadgets again. What was waiting for me?

  • 246 e-mails
  • 73 phone messages
  • 29 text messages

What’s a girl gotta do?

Have you had trouble wrangling the volume of correspondence on a daily basis? Have you ever tried to circumvent the people who always want to get ahold of you? I want to know.

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