- Do you answer your cell phone anytime, anywhere? No matter what you are doing?
- Do you check email at night before going to bed? How about on weekends?
- When some sends you a text message, do you drop whatever you are doing and respond?
Is your technology a tool that gives you more flexibility in life?
Or is it a leash to your work that constantly reels you in, causes stress, and never lets you go?
Tool or Leash?
Technology has given us great power and flexibility in how, when, and where we work. We can respond to email and messages from anywhere. We can reach and be reached almost anytime. It can be a very powerful tool in getting our work done.
However, for many people, their tech tools have become a leash to their work. It dominates their lifestyle. They are never without their trusted smartphone and obsessively check email and other work related items.
Why do we allow this?
Does your workplace require that you check email on the weekend? Then why do you do it?
Are you required by your profession to be “on call?” Then why answer your cell phone anytime, anywhere?
It is important to remember that these tech tools are supposed to give us flexibility in our lives, not take it away. For those who are looking to free themselves from their virtual leashes, here are some tips to taking back the power of your gadgets:
6 Tips to Free Yourself From Your Tech Leash
- Remember It Is A Tool For YOU – One of the biggest shifts you need to make in order to free yourself from your technology leash is to remember that your tech tools are there for your benefit. Don’t let others interrupt your life just because they managed to get your phone number or email.
- Stop Answering the Phone – Answering the phone is almost a Pavlovian response: it rings… we answer. Break this habit. Only answer the phone if you are available. If you want to try a powerful experiment, don’t answer you phone for a week. Your productivity will soar and you can get back to people when you are available.
- Don’t Check Email – Do you check email on weekends? At night? Why? Unless you are required to by your profession or employer, resist checking email more than a couple times a day. Otherwise, you are bringing yourself unneeded interruptions and stress. Often, you are in no position do anything about the email anyway. If you can’t do anything about the email until morning, then don’t check it until morning.
- Don’t Knock Multiple Times – When you are reaching out to someone, don’t knock on multiple doors. In other words, don’t call, then text, and finally send an email. Before your reach out. determine the best method of communication based on the nature and timeliness of the issue. Then reach out once, whether it is by phone, email, text, etc.
- Leave a message – As a follow-on to #4, when you do reach out, always leave a message. If it was important enough for you to reach out, leave a message so that the person can get back to you. The reverse applies, too. Resist calling back those who do not leave a message. If they didn’t leave a message, it must not have been that important. And if it was, they will call back. I promise.
- You Don’t Have to Respond – Really? I thought it was law in like 37 states that if someone emails you that you must respond? Kidding aside. Not every email deserves a response. Just like every junk mail you get in your physical mailbox, some email does not require more than placing it in the trash. Just because someone was lazy enough to fire off an email without thought, doesn’t mean you have to do anything with it. I have seen entire workplaces that get by with people forwarding their work to other people via email. Scary.
Don’t let your technology be a leash to your work. Take back your life by applying some common sense and discipline. You also may need to change some of your habits. (Really, you don’t have to answer that phone!)
Your smartphone and other tools have great potential to enable your lifestyle, as long as you remember who is in control. Use them for your benefit.
How do you free yourself? What are your best tips for breaking free of the technology leash?