Are you now feeling a lot more stress these days? Your failure to manage your communication and information systems is a big part of that stress. Smart phone technology has placed the power of the internet at our fingertips, leading to far greater personal productivity, but as with most strengths, our failure to manage information systems has also become a great weakness. Social media, e-mailing, texting, and smart phone infatuations have become the drug of choice, but like a drug, the obsession with technology can be unhealthy, both professionally and personally.
Managing your communications and unlimited information requires a plan. It used to be that if someone couldn’t get you on the phone, they would leave you a voice mail at the office or at home. When you arrived at the office or returned home, you could check your messages and take the appropriate action. The same held true for the daily visit to the mailbox. This is not so any longer. Staying connected now means checking your:
We spend hours every day retrieving and responding to hundreds and hundreds of e-mails, texts, social media posts and other messages that require attention almost on a minute-by-minute basis. With all of the interruptions, it’s amazing we can get anything important done. We have taught our minds to “react” as opposed to pro-actively focus on the most important daily activities. These new technologies that were created to improve our efficiency have increased the levels of stress and frustration in our daily lives.
So, how can you tame the technology monster? The answer requires creating a new more productive habit that allows you to manipulate your information and communication systems, versus allowing them to manipulate you. The first step is to apply the “Pareto Principle”, or the “80/20 Rule” at the beginning of each day, by identify the 10 most important tasks you want to complete during that day. For most professionals, 80% of their success in life comes from just 20% of their daily activities. Pareto activities include: meeting a client, prospecting or rainmaking, an appointment with a buyer or seller, and even quality time with your family. Conversely, the remaining 80% of your time is far less productive and would include: checking your e-mail every couple of minutes, surfing the web, spending hours on facebook or you-tube, and checking out texts from advertisers.
By constantly reminding yourself to focus on your top priorities during the day, you accomplish most of the important tasks. When you run out of time, it will be with the activities that weren’t as important. When managed properly, technology can be both efficient and fun.