Is technology stealing your time instead of helping you manage it? Are you sabotaging yourself by letting interruptions get in the way of accomplishing tasks? Are distractions putting you and others at risk? We have so much going on in our lives like social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace), iPhones, texting, email, apps to remind us to do this and that. You name it it’s out there. We’re multi-tasking trying to do so many things at the same time, running to different activities, attending meetings, running a household and/or a business. So much to do in a certain amount of time yet we waste a lot of time with distractions that can be avoided.
Maura Thomas of RegainYourTime.com gave her presentation “The Future of Communication & Attention in the Age of Social Media” at my monthly NAPO-Austin chapter meeting this past Monday. Some of the things she said that made an impact on me are: “It’s difficult to control our brain if we sabotage ourselves all the time”; “If you’re doing two things at the same time physically you’re only doing one of them mentally”; and “We voluntarily give away our attention”. Boy did she hit close to home and gave me a lot to think about. I let too many distractions consume my time which makes me less productive. So instead of keeping the TV on in my office when I’m working at my desk I now turn it off. The only thing I have going on is soothing music playing in the living room. I spent half the time watching TV instead of concentrating on the task at hand. I even kept the TV on while listening to a teleclass by phone. Who says we have to constantly check our email or answer every phone call? If you’re working on a project at your job or a task around the house let phone calls go to voice mail and check email when you’re done unless you’re expecting an email or call that relates to the project or task you’re working on. Turn off alerts that may be distracting.
Here’s another question. Are you stealing your employer’s time by constantly checking personal email, tweeting on Twitter or posting on Facebook while on the job? Are you texting all day long on your employer’s time? There was a story on one of the TV networks (I don’t remember which one) a couple of weeks ago about moms who ignored their kids because they were constantly texting. How sad is that? Are you texting while driving? Is it worth risking yours, your passengers and other lives because you’re distracted while driving? Gosh, even social etiquette is being ignored. People talking on their cell phone or texting during meetings, at the dinner table, or even worse, at church. It also seems like we’re forgetting how to interact with other people face to face. For example, texting someone who’s in another room in the same house instead of going to that person and talking to them. This absolutely blows my mind.
Don’t get me wrong. I think technology is wonderful. We have information at our fingertips which makes life easier and it can also make us more productive. But we have to know when to draw the line. We need to be more in control of how to effectively use technology to our advantage and not let it control us.