I love technology—up to a point. There’s no doubt electronic technology in particular has boosted our productivity to remarkable levels. But at the same time, electronics appeal so much to some of us that we waste time doing things we shouldn’t at work. I’ve known Internet addicts who couldn’t go an hour without checking their favorite websites, and there are legions of workers who babysit their inboxes all day long.
If technology has slowed you down, why not try a “digital detox” to get you and your team back on track? You don’t have to get rid of anything, just discipline yourself to use your tools as your inventors intended. Talk about ideas in your next staff meeting and see how you could support one another. For example:
1. Leave personal calls for the evening. There used to be rules about receiving personal calls at work, but now people give out their cell phone numbers for work purposes. Tell family members and friends you’ll call them back this evening, so they get used to leaving you alone during work hours unless it’s an emergency.
2. Block a no-tech time. Designate 90 minutes each day for the team to work—no tech. No meetings, no calls, no walk-in interruptions. Think of this as core working hours. Put your phone on airplane mode. Forward the office phone to voicemail. Shut down email. Don’t pop in on your co-workers. Block your calendar with a recurring appointment. Just work.
3. Check email just a few times a day. Rather than responding instantly when you get an email—shattering your focus and concentration—turn off your alerts and answer email only a few times a day. Three to five inbox-clearing sessions a day using my 6-D System should do it.
4. Cut yourself off from the Internet. Perhaps you’re feeling a need to unplug from the internet for a period of time each day. Monitoring software for the Internet has existed almost as long as the Internet itself. Now there are some great software programs that can help you achieve this goal, such as RescueTime, Freedom, or SelfControl.
Self-discipline isn’t so difficult when you know the consequences. If you want to be a strategic enabler of business, you have to find time to be strategic and THINK. Adults should be able to slip the electronic leash. Overuse of electronics represents a huge-time waster and can dull your senses, something no team can afford today, where sharp, agile response is a must.
© 2015 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, a.k.a. The Productivity Pro®, helps professionals achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. For over 20 years, her keynote speeches and workshops have helped leaders boost personal and team productivity, increase results, and save time at work. Laura is the author six books, most recently Execution IS the Strategy. Widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of performance and workplace issues, Laura has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today. Connect via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.