by Rivka Caroline | Featured Contributor
It is easy for us to say that there is a global need to un-plug from all the electronic devices that are pinging at us for our attention. However, as you can see from the iPhone that you are reading this on while you are meant to be working on that presentation … it’s not always so easy to actually do.
Want to cry ? Grab that chocolate donut and keep on reading : If you truly want to maximize your own productivity you must unplug from those distractions you love to hate.
Shockingly, technology was actually designed to save us time, but when we have an overflowing inbox full of unread emails, sixteen voice mails and 24 texts to respond to, it certainly doesn’t seem to be helping much at all.
Here are some of my own tips for limiting e-mail consumption & production .. and yes, it does hurt a little at the beginning.
1) Passive Communication
A good rule of thumb is to use passive communication whenever possible, it is quicker and more efficient. Email is better than the phone and texting can be even more effective than phone and email. Also, just because someone leaves you a message, doesn’t mean you have to call them back, if they are active email or text users, then communicate your way ( please note, this most likely doesn’t work for most people over 75).
2) Stop checking email all day
Use all the willpower you can possibly muster (and maybe even borrow some from your neighbor) and commit to check your email fewer times each day.
A primary goal for anyone looking to save time is to limit emailing. I know it feels efficient when you are able to respond to someone right away, but remember that when you are efficient at the expense of being effective, you are moving further away from the goal of a smoother and more effective handle on your time. Twice a day should be sufficient, or a little more depending on your work load. Consider having a tag line explaining your new email protocol if you are concerned people will think you are being rude and set a timer for the 15 – 30 minutes you take to check email.
3) Goodbye email hello world
Take email off your iphone too. Yes, you read correctly.
4) Batch those responses
You will save oodles of time and precious brain power by messages that need longer responses and deal with them “en batch” just a couple times a day. Feel free to respond in point form to be more efficient too.
5) Stop living with the flashing lights
Turn off the audible alert that pings when a new email comes in to your inbox or iPhone. This allows you to “batch” reading your emails, rather than peppering your entire day with one message interruptions that will slowly and silently drive you insane.
6) Where are you going ??
I have harassed you in the a previous post to always know the 5-8 tasks you must do the following day. Consider your 5-8 specific tasks for the day as your destination. Look at email, social networking and phone calls as distractions along the way and only “stop” if they are essential. Once your specific tasks have been taken care of, you can be a little less driven.
7) Set an alarm
When you do sit down to take care of your email, decide ahead of time how much time you are going to spend and set an alarm. I recommend www.e.ggtimer.com as a great way to plan your time.
8) Talk to those who matter to you
They say that our texting teens don’t even know how to spell full words and never actually speak to each other. It is still important to talk to your loved ones on the phone regularly so don’t sacrifice heart to heart conversations in the name of efficiency.
Rivka wants you to unplug !
She is giving away 5 copies of her book to sheownsit.com readers. Simply upload on Twitter a photo of you unplugging and you will be entered into a competition to win it – drawing will be held 2 day after this post.
Time Management Guru – Rivka Caroline, author of Frazzled to Focused Ultimate Time Management Guide for Moms & CEO of SoBe Organized, Miami, Florida
Rivka is a Mom of 7, Author of Frazzled to Focused, Rabbi’s wife and CEO of the professional Time Management Consultancy SoBe Organized. She teaches both individuals and small businesses how to leverage their time to work effectively and find time for the things that count. She loves the psychology behind time management and will be finishing her Masters in Psychology in October 2013. Perhaps more importantly, Rivka is still quite relaxed and surprisingly sane and able to find time for what matters. People often ask her how she ‘does it all’, her tweets @sobeorganized, blog posts and book is her detailed response ( spoiler alert : she doesn’t actually do it all and doesn’t want YOU to either).