I am a technology lover. I love the latest gadgets and apps. I love social media and communicate with my 75,000+ Twitter, followers daily. My cell phone and laptop allow me to work productively, even when I am on the road, headed to lead a workshop or attend an industry event.
As a leader of a mostly virtual team, I understand first-hand how critical technology is for us and our employees to do our jobs effectively. It’s essential. That said, we can’t ignore the fact that technology has a way of hurting our relationships, focus and productivity.
I mean, when was the last time you checked text or email when you should have been focused on your significant other, kid or co-worker? Or lost time following a scandal on Twitter or browsing online?
While technology helps us in so many ways, one of the best bits of advice I can offer you (and it’s advice I take myself) is to take regular breaks from technology, even when it is your primary source of communication with your team.
Shut it down. Turn it off. And think.
The multi-tasking myth gets in our way and we think we are being more productive by using our toys in every brief interlude throughout our day. Your devices and apps may allow you to get one more thing done, contact one more person, or find one more piece of information, however …
- When are you taking time to put all of that activity into context?
- When are you thinking about your day?
- When are you planning, to ensure you are using technology and all those brief moments to do the right, strategic and more important things?
- When are you reflecting on the success of today and using that as a springboard for your future?
Those critical activities can’t be done while cradling your phone, balancing your laptop, sending one more email, watching the latest viral video or video chatting with your friend in Singapore.
How much of a break do you need? That depends on you. You are the only person who can find the right balance for you. My suggestion, my urging, my plea is that you shut it all down and disconnect long enough to think about those question and begin to find that balance for yourself.
Planning and reflection are too important to your happiness, success – and your productivity – to be relegated to times when your battery is low or there is nothing on television. Make a conscious effort and discipline yourself to invest in yourself, not just the latest gadget.
Sometimes you need to simplify! Check out this article by co-founder Wayne Turmel on app fatigue and what you can do to ensure you are using apps that actually help your productivity.