Back when I decided to no longer pick up my phone in 2014 or so, I was considered nuts by everyone around me.

Nowadays, more and more of my friends and colleagues have adopted this practice, thanks to the endless number of sales calls (and even worse: robocalls).

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According to a TNS report (quoted on Forbes), Americans receive over 200 million unwanted robocalls every single day. This madness has caused a major distress in the telecom industry.

Even worse, legitimate phone calls are now missed frequently. I’ve missed at least a couple of dentist appointments simply because they called from a random phone at the time.

So here are some of the main reasons why I haven’t been picking up calls (hint: even some calls from people I know.)

1. Most Phone Calls Are Spam

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Interruption science is a real science that aims to maximize efficiency at the workplace. I’ve been constantly testing and applying productivity tips in order to work more effectively.

And phone calls are not helping.

5. Phone Calls Can Be Texts/Emails

As a firm supporter of asynchronous work (whenever possible), I’d say that the vast majority of work-related calls can be emails or texts.

Had the dentist sent a text instead, I would have gathered that my appointment is rescheduled or I have to text back to confirm.

A three-question sales call can be an email.

Sure, there are legitimate reasons to jump on a call for 10 minutes and clear something out. And touching base with family is great. But in so many cases, a phone call is one of the worst options.


Best ways to get in touch with me:1. Text2. Email3. Twitter DM4. Write a note on my car windshield in dust5. Message in a bottle6. Morse code using laser pointer…105. LinkedIn message

— Andrew Wilkinson (

Note that a call is not even on the list!

(Though I admit I’m active on LinkedIn and can’t relate with #105).

6. Phone Calls Take Time

With the right agenda, a phone call can be truly effective.

(Especially when you call a colleague on a vacation who has messed something up and has to help!)

But just like meetings, calls may take a lot longer than an email.

It’s customary to engage in small talk when initiating a conversation. Which would be a short paragraph otherwise (if at all).

The essence of the problem may take some back and forth to finally sort out instead of thinking of a problem in your spare time and come up with the corresponding answer.

You may even be pressed to respond with the wrong answer if you lack important details of the conversation. Sometimes, context is lost between different parties interacting in a case. Or you may not be qualified to answer at this exact time.

7. Calls Don’t Bring Memories

Imagine you hop on a call and negotiate terms over a sales deal for 30+ minutes.

You’ll make some compromises. So will your customer.

Chances are, you’ll have doubts about some of the arguments you agreed on. Did you discount with 10%? Was it for a 3-month contract or 6 months?

Even worse, there’s no paper trail that would prove you right (or wrong). A follow-up conversation a few weeks later may get you back to square zero.

None of your team is up to speed, too. Unless you send a follow-up email and require a direct response, which is adding on top of the overhead for conducting the call in the first place.

8. Calls In Loud Places

I often find myself in a loud place where a call would be inappropriate.

Think of the subway, a restaurant, the line at Starbucks, out walking on the sidewalk adjacent to a boulevard.

Especially when other people are involved (public crowded spaces), a call would negatively impact:

MyselfThe person on the other end of the lineThe people around me

I will have a trouble hearing and this may result in me screaming at the phone, too. The loud noise around me will be hard to grasp on the other end too.

But hey, not a problem if you don’t expect an immediate answer or touch base via Slack/IM/email, right?

9. Calling Late In The Evening

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OK so here’s a fun story for you.

My personal executive room at the office is right across a cell tower. We’re talking 30 feet near.

And yet, my cell coverage there is horrible. Like a possible diffraction of sound waves that make any call sound as if you’re driving in a tunnel.

I used to have a few “dead spots” in my previous apartment, the elevator is fully offline (not surprisingly), and I can enumerate at least 5 places in the area where coverage isn’t great.

While office Wi-Fi may have its moments, odds are my 3G or 4G network would handle a call with fewer interruptions than my telecom itself.

12. Audio Problems During Calls

My family has a long-standing tradition of pointing fingers when a call gets rejected (nearly half the time).

A smartphone’s app will interfere along the waySomeone would click the “hold” button by mistakeGeneral telecom problemsStandard smartphone problems (because calling apparently is so complicated nowadays)A Bluetooth device would get in the way of sound, trying to put this in order (i.e. disconnecting car speakers, a smartwatch, your bathroom’s Bluetooth speaker).

And don’t get me started on international calls causing delays over a second between both parties. If you’ve never had a call overseas, try it out just for the experience. It’s NOT worth repeating but you got to understand how ridiculous it is.

13. Other Parties May Need To Intervene

Everyone has received a call that start with: “Can I speak with…” or “Is there anyone in your organization who would be suitable for the next call“.

But even if you’re the actual target of this conversation, are you necessarily the right point of contact?

My tech guys may need some assistance from our adops or marketing team. They would need creative to justify specific decisions regarding the color scheme of a print brochure or whatever be it.Design would sometimes need to hear back from legal on trademark matters.

Even in terms of personal matters, I wouldn’t know if a “family plan” would be compatible with whatever service my wife is using. This requires consideration and comes off as presumptions (yes, almost every time).

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14. Calling While Driving

OK, so I know some people who are well-prepared and capable of conducting conversations effectively over the phone while driving.

I am not one of those people. Why?

My Bluetooth pairing system doesn’t always work properly. It’s acting funny when a call comes in but I’m listening to a CD and the call requires tuning in to a certain station frequency. Or only media comes through but not the phone.

Handsfree devices require additional maintenance (charging) and I’ve already got eleven devices to take care of daily (or every other day).

There are legal restrictions with driving without a handsfree.

And I can’t just plug my headset there. It’s legitimately dangerous as I’ve got no control over the environment and unable to hear while on the phone.

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It’s easier on the highway (less traffic) but the coverage may get funny out of town.