A few weeks ago on The Women's Dish, I wrote about how I took a "working vacation" one weekend where I planned on working the whole time, but only on things I liked to do. What fell into the dislike category? Anything to do with accounting (no surprise there) and logistics -- trying to arrange meetings, schedule travel, and trading emails and phone calls... it basically zaps out most of the fun I have chatting with folks, giving speeches, meeting people for coffee, etc.
So, recently I've been trying something new: The spontaneous phone call. I have a few close pals/business advisers with whom I check in on a regular basis, but usually we can't get ourselves on the same time schedule -- let alone within the same time zone -- to actually meet in person. Lately, realizing that scheduling an in-person meeting is near impossible, I've started just picking up the phone and calling. (My "caffeinated calling" version of "drunken dialing"). If they're not there, I leave a message "Hi! Just checking in. Nothing pressing, no need to call me back unless you want to take a break and shoot the breeze, otherwise I'll catch up with you later."
I would caution that this only works with very close friends and business associates. Personally, I'm thrown off by spontaneous phone calls from strangers and telemarketers, so I keep it to a very short list of folks on speed dial on my BlackBerry. But, when I hop in the car for a 30-plus-minute drive anywhere, I plop in my earpiece. (Note to self: When it is 20 degrees out and you keep your Bluetooth ear set in the car, best to let it warm up first.)
And, when I do get a spontaneous call from a friend? If I'm home, I stop what I'm doing, put on my headset and start cleaning while chatting. I work from home, so there's always laundry to be dealt with and it gets me away from the distractions of a computer so I can actually concentrate on the conversation.
I found that most my friends get that they don't need to call me back until they feel like it, so I'm not burdening them with another item on their "to-do" lists. However, when it works and I get someone on the line who wants to sit back and have a chat, it keeps me in touch without the tiresome logistics!