Technology is improving at a staggering pace. Wireless networks and cellular networks are constantly expanding and improving so we can now make cell phone calls, send and receive e-mail and surf the web virtually everywhere. Devices are getting so powerful that we can do virtually everything we would normally do on a PC in the course of our normal work right in the palm of our hands. We are truly at the point where we almost never have to find ourselves out of touch with the office and our world. That´s progress, but progress with a price.
The price is that we can never escape. Because we have devices that can let us check our stock portfolio in full color while having a conference call with people in three time zones while in the shower, people expect to be able to contact us then, and pretty much every other time. If we let them, then, devices can completely control and dominate our worlds. That´s not particularly productive. It´s also not at all desirable. Obviously. No one should be a slave to their devices. Here are three tips to help you break cycle of device control:
1) Turn it off — Just because you have to have a phone doesn´t mean you have to have it on. If it´s the evening, the weekend, or a time you would prefer not ot be interrupted, just turn the phone off for a while. You have voicemail, so people will be able tell you what they need to tell you. That will be good enough in almost every situation, and people need to learn that they can´t always expect you to answer.
2) Turn it off — If I had to make a list of the things that annoy me most, the very top of the list would be occupied by people who let an important conversation we are having in person be interrupted several times by a ringing cell phone that they proceed to answer and chat for a while. It kills the momentum of the conversation, costs both of us more time than it would otherwise take, and is just plain inconsiderate. If you were in a meeting with someone you wouldn´t find it acceptable to have five different people walk into the meeting to interrupt and have a chat, so it doesn´t make sense that it is okay because it comes on a phone you carry in your pocket. Again, voicemail is a perfectly fine, and more productive, answer.
3) Turn it off (notice a trend) — If you are trying to concentrate and get work done, a consistently ringing phone will do nothing but kill your momentum, destroy your focus, and decrease your effectiveness. If you are trying to get something done, it is okay to turn your phone off for a while. Really.