My turn around time to respond to a text message, WhatsApp, voicemail or email, averages about six hours and has been known to stretch to 48 hours at times. I’ve not suddenly become antisocial, uncaring or any less interested in your messages but these days, I need to put some dedicated time aside to respond to them.
There was a time when I could be making an appointment by phone and sending a text message whilst simultaneously smiling at the checkout operator and loading my shopping onto the conveyor belt. Admittedly, I wasn’t giving each task the attention it deserved but on the whole I managed successfully to multi task. I would also remember what appointment I had booked, the time, the date and the location and accurately add this information to my diary as I left the supermarket.
Not any more! Now, if I want to arrange an appointment by phone, I have to be somewhere quiet, no distractions, earphones in and pen and paper at the ready. The earphones are necessary as I can’t hold my phone to my ear for any length of time without dropping it. The pen and paper are necessary as I will immediately forget the time and date of the appointment if I don’t write it down. I use the term ‘write’ in the loosest possible way. My loss of ability to write legibly was one of the very first symptoms which prompted me to seek a medical opinion. I now have typical Parkinson’s small, untidy, often illegible handwriting.
The realisation that I need to focus on one thing at a time dawned on me gradually after a series of missed appointments, forgotten dates with friends and turning up at the hairdressers only to realise that I should have been at the dentist! More embarrassingly, after signing ‘Love You Loads 😘❤️’ at the end of a text message to the window cleaner, when also responding to texts from my family, I realised I needed to pay more attention to the task in hand!
With no hope of me sending a quick response to a message whilst doing something else, I rarely check my phone when I’m out. It feels quite liberating! I ‘type’ with my left hand. For ‘type’ think slow, one finger, with frequent errors and corrections. I tend to respond to messages using my laptop, which I find easier, typically late at night when quiet descends.
So, dear friends, colleagues, acquaintances and loved ones….Please don’t take it personally if I don’t respond to your message in a timely manner. At risk of sounding like a recorded corporate message: