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Monday, October 31, 2011

Constant Connectedness

Today, we are constantly connected.   With the ease in which we can send and receive information, I wonder if we have fostered a culture of ADD, never fully concentrating on anything and therefore, never really doing anything well.
So what problem does this cause?  First of all, it severely limits productivity.  Secondly, it causes us to never fully engage in the task, or the meeting or must importantly, the person right in front of us.  Ever sat in a meeting and had no idea what was said because you were constantly checking your email on your blackberry?  When did this come back to bite you at work?  Ever had a co-worker come to talk to you about a work-related issue and you constantly kept looking at your computer at emails or your facebook page? How did this hurt your relationship with that co-worker or actually hurt your work outcomes?
What do we do about this constant connectedness? 
1.        Check your email, two- three times a day.  No more.  The Executive Briefing in HR Magazine suggests “e-mail free” times to help workers deal with information overload. Check your email at the beginning of the work day, before or after lunch and finally about an hour before leaving the office or end the workday.  
2.       Don’t take a device that allows you to be connected into a meeting if you can’t resist the urge to log on. 

By doing these two things, the majority of the day you aren’t connected because your email system is not “engaged”.  Therefore, you aren’t distracted when trying to complete other work.  Important tasks get completed and you can give meetings and people you’re with full attention because you aren’t constantly checking your inbox or the internet.

1)      If an email isn’t important or urgent, but needs some attention at some point, classify it as a task on your to-do list, assign it a date and forget about it until it pops up on that to-do list.  Attach important information you need to that task so you can be prepared with the information you need when you go to complete it, which also helps information overload.  In my next post I’ll talk more about considering urgency.

What do you do to manage your connectedness?  Where do you find it hardest to disconnect? 

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