Asynchronous working is gaining traction within global, remote and switched-on teams. When done well it brings enhanced concentration and getting more done on your terms. When done badly it means frustration and working all hours for everyone involved.
Here are ten ways to be more asynchronous in your work:
Avoid playing email ping pong by scheduling every one you send. Leave bigger gaps in between your responses to train people out of expecting your immediate response.
Leverage airplane mode
Avoid being distracted by bids for your attention by turning on airplane mode when you work. When you’re done, do your corresponding in one batch before going back offline.
Don’t answer your phone
If you answer your phone when it rings, your entire day can be hijacked by other people. Do your work first, and call people back after.
Make the most of time zones
Make every day feel like a Sunday by working on a completely different time zone to your team and customers. Hire people in different countries. Make it difficult to book calls so you have to find a different way.
Communicate by voice notes
Voice notes are better at conveying tone than text-based communication and they don’t require syncing of schedules. Practice being brief and make use of the pause button.
Don’t make meetings or calls the default
See if there’s another way of solving a problem than booking a meeting or call, which often just defer a conversation that could happen sooner. Try other avenues before booking a slot.
Don’t demand fast responses
Respect other people’s timescales like you want them to respect yours. Strangely, when you tell people there is no rush, they often get back to you faster than you expect.
Make your boundaries clear
If you’re not booking calls, say so. If you can’t make a deadline, tell the other person. Boundaries are there to be stuck to, not flexed depending on who asks. Overcommunicate yours.
Whether you’re planning to go full hermit mode for a big project, be super responsive and helpful, or go off the grid entirely, make sure people know what to expect. Erratic and unpredictable is not the goal.
Stick to your promises
If someone doesn’t know where you are and what you’re doing, your integrity matters. Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. That trust takes ages to build but can be lost in seconds.
How to be more async in your work
You don’t need to put all these tactics in place at once. Even just one at a time would free up space in your calendar to spend doing deep work. Reducing your synchronous communications by half might make a world of difference.
If you already work remotely and across different time zones, being better at async might avoid those late nights and early mornings. It might mean you enjoy running your business more.
Working asynchronously by default requires a mindset shift and an openness to learn, because it’s not what everyone else is doing. Power through until you can’t imagine going back.