Asynchronous Communication and You

Asynchronous communication.

For many of you, it’s an unfamiliar term.

Put simply, it is the opposite of synchronous communication.

It is communication on your own time and on your own terms, freed from the constraints of immediacy.

Communication is synchronous when information is exchanged at the same time—one person speaks, while another listens and reacts accordingly in real-time—immediate feedback is required.

What started as an isolated illness during the early 2000s, has become a pandemic in less than 20 years. Over the past decade, we’ve been conditioned to accept synchronous communication without exception. It is why many of us feel compelled to be “ON” at all times…

  • To respond immediately to a late night email
  • To always carry our smartphone and feel a twinge of panic as the batter nears 0%
  • To call clients back immediately no matter what we’re in the middle of doing

Fortunately, this isn’t an invincible disease—asynchronous communication is the cure.

Embracing asynchronous communication in principle, practice, and technology will give you the power to sit with your family at dinner and be completely present, free from the need to glance at your iPhone for incoming text or emails. It will offer the luxury of jumping out of the office for lunch with friends, or working from a beach in Panama without the traditional “I need to be at my desk” anxiety.

It means utilizing new technologies like Slack and Trello to stay on-top of work in place of unnecessary phone calls or cumbersome meetings.

Asynchronous communication is about maximizing freedom and efficiency.

Here are just a few of the reasons I’ve come to love asynchronous communication:

  • It allows me to work (or play) in big blocks of time without constant interruption, improving my focus by letting me be fully present
  • I no longer need a physical office or a locally-sourced team—because I practice a life of asynchronous communication, the world has become my workspace
  • Increased opportunity for thought—because asynchronous communication doesn’t require immediacy in response, I can invest time and thought into my words before I speak (type) them
  • Almost everything comes with a record—slack, trello, email, google chat, texts—I don’t have to take notes or occupy valuable mental space trying to memorize detailed specifics on the fly
  • Most importantly, when the need arises I can switch “OFF” at any moment

The bottom line is this:

Communication is vital but constant communication is deadly

If you’re busily laboring to available to all parties at all times, you’re setting yourself up for professional and personal failure.

Start working to communicate asynchronously—on your own time, and on your own terms—and watch as your freedom (see—happiness) skyrockets.