July 27, 2019

“Just pick up the phone, it’s so much more efficient!”

It’s true that phone calls are more efficient if you’re measuring from start time to finish time, since most people don’t reply immediately to email. But if you’re measuring by overall time spent, then phone calls take longer for me because of all the steps involved:

1. Write down what I plan to say, usually as bullet points but sometimes as full sentences.
2. Plan a flow chart of additional things I might need to say, depending on how the conversation goes.
3. Breathe deeply to gather courage.
4. Make the call, reading my notes aloud.
5. Write down any important information I learn, as well as any follow-up steps I need to take.
6. Take some time to recover and collect my thoughts, before I’m able to focus on other things again.

Making an official call, for example to book an appointment or get technical support, requires all 6 steps. When calling a friend, I can usually skip steps 2 and 5. But emailing only requires step 1.

I’m grateful to live at a time in history when the Internet exists. It gives me a way to communicate that’s more enjoyable – and also more efficient.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.