A good friend of mine Nancy Reece recently wrote in her blog about seven choices she started making to set boundaries to manage technology’s role in her work-life balance.
Four steps must occur in your brain every time you switch from one task to another. It is time-consuming, and that’s why we find ourselves losing track of where we were and having to ‘start over.’ When you are interrupted, studies show that it takes 50% longer to complete a task, and you are likely to make up to 50% more errors.
Here are the choices she made:
1) I turn off iTunes, turn off notifications for email and messages, and turn off Google chat whenever I have a project to complete, a blog to write, or a training to design. I now get it done in half the time.
2) I don’t check email after 7 pm in the evening. Too many nights I’ve laid awake upset by an email that could have waited until morning.
3) I only check email 2 – 3 times a day, and I have no email notifications of any kind operating on my iPhone. This enables to spend quality time on the person I’m with or project I’m designing.
4) I learned to say NO to my iPhone. I usually don’t answer the phone when I’m with someone else, and I don’t use it in a checkout line. Face-to-face contact is precious.
5) Sundays and vacations are days of rest from technology. I may talk to someone on the phone, but I rarely check or respond to email. This is huge, as it strengthens the other boundaries you’ve set around technology.
6) I stopped trying to “do” Twitter. I have an account and enjoy tweeting to help a speaker or presenter; but, too many times, I found myself setting things up at 8 pm.
7) When I first started blogging, I was told I had to do it 2 – 3 times a week in order to build a following. Now I write 5 – 6 times a year—and only when I think what I’m writing will benefit others.