Does your smartphone beckon you at all times of the day or night?. Your family and friends cringe when your mobile phone beeps? Are your weekends and vacations interrupted by call and emails? If so, you might be too connected.
The world of work has changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years. It used to be that we could get away from work just by leaving the office. There weren’t many ways to interrupt our out of office time. Work and non-work hours were easily defined. For the most part, weekends were weekends without work. And, if we wanted to escape we could just get on a plane and go somewhere. Time with the family during vacations was pretty uneventful as far as work was concerned. Today there is no escape. First cellphones, then blackberries and now smart phones, have all conspired to take away our free time. The expectation often is that we are available 24/7. It can be easy to get trapped by technology but there are some things you can do to minimize the negative impact of these “time-saving” devices.
Set Realistic Expectations
The key to getting the most from technology is to not let technology get the most of us. Setting realistic expectations for the use of technology is something we should be doing all of the time, not just when we are leaving work for an extended period.
Make sure that you let everyone that you work with knows what your out of work availability schedule is. Let them know that when you are away from work you will not be 100% reachable all of the time. If you absolutely must be available outside of work, try to set specific times when you will be available. That way you control your time. I think you will find that if people know you are away from the office and only available at certain times they will do what they can to respect your time.
Don’t Overload On Tech
There are so many useful tech tools available today that is easy to want to use all of them to improve our efficiency. Before you add the latest and greatest to your bag of tricks take some time to think about whether or not it will actually improve your efficiency or not. Sometimes it’s better to stick with what you have and not be in a rush to upgrade. All of those additional features might just be an excuse to take even more of your precious time. Similarly social media on smartphones is a time consuming activity. The likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and others should not be over used (Need vs Demand theory should be applied)
Technology Can’t Replace The Personal Touch
All of the technology in the world can’t replace the benefit of one on one interaction. Use technology as a way to supplement personal interactions, not replace them. People still prefer to speak to each other face to face, or at least over the phone, whenever possible.
Think Before Using
Cellphones, remote email access, laptops, PDA’s, and other technology offer us the ability to manage our time more efficiently. We don’t have to be at “the office” in order to get work done. But, if we let all of these tools take advantage of us we can find ourselves in a position where we can never get away from work. Carefully consider the pros, and cons, of any new “productivity” tool before you jump in with both feet. If you don’t, you could find yourself with less time instead of more, which is not what most of us are trying to achieve.