Women Business Leaders have two choices when it comes to technology: Control or be controlled.
I had the luxury of meeting some women business leaders for lunch today to celebrate a birthday.
A supposedly relaxing two-hour lunch on a patio overlooking the Gulf Coast became a harried flurry of confused energy. Cell phones rang with “urgent” calls, a conference call usurped one of the party attendees during the appetizer and mimosa course.
Nearly everyone lamented how difficult it was to “get away “ on a Friday afternoon. Now lets face it, we were all disconnected from our desks, but none of us had escaped technology. We have entered the magnificent age of working remotely with the freedom of access, the joy of being any place and working any time. Did I say magnificent?
As I watched this dysfunctional Coastal luncheon I wondered how to harness technology that has afforded us efficiency but perhaps taken away a sense of freedom.
We all want to “super serve” our clients and customers but as one diner complained “my client wanted to know why, when he emailed me at 10pm on a Saturday evening, I didn’t call him back” I offer some basic rules on how to remain efficient but take control of technology:
Don’t get sucked into small tasks; stay on track. Make sure that you are consistently aware of your big picture goals. This will ensure that you are spending your time wisely.
Schedule time to check email
Limit the times you check email. Try early, middle and end of day. Use this scheduled time to work without distraction, as the cost of context-switching is huge. While email is an essential and an efficient means of communication, evaluate and prioritize your responses.
Schedule uninterrupted time to focus on important projects
Besides getting out of email, it’s important to schedule time on our calendar where we focus on the projects that will bring us the most value. Sometimes that means being very clear to others about what you are and are not going to be paying attention to.
Integrate mindfulness in the flow of your day
Take a breather and recharge. The information will be there when you return and you will have built up mechanisms to efficiently shift through the clutter. Learn how to focus on one thing at a time. We can then learn to deal with many demands on our attention. For example, Twitter is a constant stream of information that can be diverting but we pop in and find moments that create meaning that couldn’t exist before.
Deliberately deal with Social Media Platforms
As business women leaders, we use compassion in our work. We apply this trait to our team as well as our customers. That same compassion is crucial for our own effectiveness in making a difference. Learn to set limits, develop boundaries and create a healthy balance in the use of technology to create meaning for yourself.
In summary use technology but don’t let technology abuse you.