I have recently begun working with an organization where much of the communication is conducted via email. People are expected to be on, and connected. As I look around this is increasingly a challenge. Many of us have multiple accounts where we interact with the world electronically; Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Linked In, company email, private email, and that is just scratching the surface of how many get and share information.
I have a colleague that likes to have his smart phone ring when he gets an email, while he is with his colleagues because, “It shows them how busy I am.” His phone alerts him to an email every few moments. When I travel with him, it is very distracting.
I think all of this communication is distracting for many of us. If we are always responding to emails or Twittering our Tweets, when are we creating value? Many of my friends complain of always having to react to emails. Life is more productive when we are proactive vs. reactive.
Some steps we can take to regain control of our time from the electronic machine are to (and these are not secrets)
1. Schedule time – Schedule email breaks, Social Media time and value time.
2. Stick to your schedule.
3. Turn of the email notifiers so you aren’t distracted when a new one comes in.
These small simple steps can make a big difference in your ability to focus and deliver value.
For you multi-taskers out there, it really doesn’t work. Studies have recently shown that multi-tasking actually has long-term negative effects on our cognitive abilities.