Lately, there has been article after article about how we should all “unplug” and connect with one another without electronic devices. Some of these articles go as far as to tell you to turn off your phone completely (gasp). Apparently, when you are out to coffee with a friend, or at a birthday party with your daughter, you shouldn’t be distracted by your phone. But these articles are not taking our careers into consideration.
For the majority of us working in a professional field, there are constant emails flying back and forth. And, sometimes, a quick response is necessary. Are you comfortable with telling your colleague that you were too busy having coffee with a friend to respond? Are you comfortable telling your boss that you couldn’t get her the answer to a question she needed, before her meeting with a huge client, because you were too busy sipping fruit punch and eating Finding Dory cake at a six year old’s birthday party?
The reality is that we live and operate in an electronic world. And, if we, as women, are going to truly “lean in” to our careers, then we must be engaged and responsive when it matters. I’m not saying to spend every waking moment on your iPhone scrolling through endless Instagram memes. I’m saying that you need to develop a system so that you respond to important communications quickly.
If you designate certain contacts in your phone as “VIP” or otherwise make a distinction for important people, then when you receive an email from those people, you know it’s important and needs attention. This way, you can simply glance at your home screen (if you set up a silent home screen notification) and immediately determine if you need to take a minute to respond.
Believe it or not, being responsive is an easy way to show those that you work with that you are accessible and interested in the work you do. So, sometimes you have to take a moment to plug in if you want to “lean in.”