While out with a friend and their daughter for dinner one night; I found myself slightly irritated with the addiction both of them seemed to have with their electronic devices. “Yes!” I’m talking about them stupid Smart Phones and, even those text receiving, Dumb Phones people like me carry. As I sat and watched what was going on, I just couldn’t help but think, “Who was the genius that sold the masses on the idea of technology making us better masters of our time and more efficient overall?” Where’s the quality in life when you are constantly distracted by beeps, bings, rings and other buzzing things?
“Now,” it’s no secret in the Mental Health community, or even at companies like Google and Microsoft, that we people are hard wired to respond to things like chimes and ring tones, “Right away.” So, knowing this myself, it didn’t really surprise me to see both Mom and Daughter going for their phones to check text messages, emails, voicemail (if not just taking phone calls right at the table), and other alerts from sites like, “Facebook.”
However, despite what I know about psychology today; I still found the behavior rather irritating because every smart and dumb phone on the market still has an “Off Button” built in by the manufacturer. However, it would seem that most people these days just can’t bring themselves to hit the, “Kill Switch.”
Based on my own observations of people; it would seem that technology is a stumbling block for the average American citizen here in the land of the free. Most folks, whether they are aware of it or not, have become a slave via their electronic gear.
However, not all of us are caught up in it all; having to be connected to everything and everyone else second by second, during the course of a day. “Yes!” Some of us do no how to use our devices to manage our lives for the better.
Most folks who call my business number often get the voicemail set up for that line; partly because I hate being interrupted when I’m writing, or working on a web design project. I’m not afraid of losing business because of the fact that my phone is going straight to voicemail while I write and otherwise create. I’m not afraid of losing business because most people, who are serious about me hosting their website or paying me to do some other related project, will leave a message.
Even my personal line stays off when I’m busy writing; doing Self-Publisher type stuff in general. My family has yet to disown me for this practice and my friends know that I do return the important calls pretty quick.
“True!” I’m a little more relaxed about keeping my email client running. My business line generates an email when a voicemail message is left and my web host customers generally communicate a lot of their questions via email. So, I do often keep it running in the background; largely for that reason. “When sites go down on your servers your clients expect a fast response.”
However, if I find that I really need to concentrate on something, “Without interruption,” phones and email are all off; me checking everything at two hour intervals on average during those times. And, “No ladies,” I don’t take phone calls during sex, “Just so you know.”
When it comes to managing time effectively; there are loads of products on the market that are supposedly designed to do just that. However, at the end of the day, it’s usually the simplest things that work the best.
Despite all of the electronic stuff available; my digital recorder is still my best friend for taking down notes and other information I need to remember. Of course, the daily journal I keep running on my computer when I’m at home is loaded with useful stuff, too. My journal is the one place I know I can find important information related to my work; if not personal notes related to my life overall.
“Look!” What I’m trying to say here is this. When it comes to time management and leading a more productive and fulfilling life in general, “The fewer distractions you have the better.” Therefore; the best time management tip I could ever possibly give to a fellow writer or anyone else is, “Master your technology.” Don’t let technology and other people who use it to communicate with you, “Master you.”
You can afford to be disconnected from the world for hours at a time. That’s why emails have inboxes, text messages are held in storage until your device comes online, and voicemail is better than ever. When you are writing, out spending time with friends, family, and/or your significant other, “Those are the times when you really need to be focused in the moment if you expect a quality anything in your life.” You can’t do that if you’re checking texts, emails and taking calls.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and looking for a solution to putting an end to a miserable chaotic existence; one of the best things you can do for yourself is, “Start turning things off.” Set times for yourself during the day for checking your email or phone; texts, etc. Personally; once every two hours works for me. Maybe it will need to be a bit less than that for you; depending upon what your life situation (professional and none) is.
“And,” if you don’t think you can do that… Well… “You might want to try therapy with a reputable mental health professional.”