By: Shad Bookout
Is it just us, or does your offices seem like it is more hectic than ever before? The new digital age was supposed to usher in a new era of ease and create opportunities for most people to work less – or at least less hard. But sometime it looks like the opposite has happened. The same technology that was supposed to make our work lives less cumbersome has us reacting to the chimes and chirps of our smart phones like Pavlovian dogs and has us responding to work email at midnight while we binge-watch Game of Thrones on our tablets.
The time has come for you to actually use the technology that you possess to make your life simpler. It does mean you will have to change a few small habits and take steps to break the cycle that you have programmed yourself to do. But, with a little patience, you can use these three items to transform from tech-stressed to tech-happy:
1 – Less tech is more tech. We are obsessed with making sure that we have each and every of the latest and greatest tech tools, without knowing if they are something that will actually benefit us. We have our smart phones for calls and social media. Social media also pours over onto our tablets which are also used for video. Both are now used for online shopping. Then we have our laptops / desktops for work processing and the majority of the email. Simplify everything by making sure each device is interconnected and talking to each other, so you can move seamlessly from one to another and complete any of your activities and any of your devices. Then, pick your favorite to use and rely on it –unless you have a unique task that is solely suited for a different device.
2 – Start acting; stop reacting. One of the most comical things in business today is, during meetings, when someone’s text chime goes off and every person in the room checks their own personal phone at the same time. Unless you are awaiting something specific, turn off the audio alerts on all of your devices (if just for a few days). This will allow you to stop reacting to the audio cue. The same goes for your email. Turn off your chimes and start setting a scheduled time each day that you conduct email replies. You have to take action to break the cycle of reaction
3 – Removus Distractus Amongus. If the volume of chirps, chimes, and dings are not enough to distract you, then you have the rest of your office trying to do the same. A co-worker may come over to visit or pick the area near your desk to discuss last night’s results from the newest TV reality competition. The delivery guy has just dropped off a packages and a stampede of people are converging on you to pick up the widget they ordered from Amazon during last night’s online shopping foray. You almost need a Cone of Silence to survive your day. No wonder you can’t get anything done with all these distractions. It is time for you to stand up for your rights in the office and put a stop to the things that are keeping you from getting your tasks accomplished. Find a place where you can go to eliminated co-worker distractions (if even for a few minutes). Ask to not be disturbed until you complete this item (a “not available” flag on the desk is popular in many offices). And utilize technology to eliminate the distractions the arriving packages create.
All of these things, and many more like them, will help you streamline your life and start you on the road to not having midnight emails, not having to react to every sound, and getting back to being tech-happy in your office.