While teaching a project management class last night, we got into a discussion about social media, technology and how communicating can overwhelm you due to the many ways we now communicate. Many of the younger (under 30) students said that they had a hard time managing their communications because of the myriad of ways that people communicate today. It was not too long ago that people joked about being addicted to the “crackberry”, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Today we communicate by E-mail (old school), texting, instant messaging, phone calls (really old school), twitter and other social media tools. These make us more accessible than ever before, and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself texting, twittering, instant messaging and emailing all at the same time. With all these demands for your time coming at you at once, it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to getting your life back under control.
- Don’t feel obligated to answer all your messages at once. Let the phone roll over to voicemail, don’t look at your phone every time it beeps, rings or makes whatever sound you’ve chosen. This may seem odd advice, but your time is valuable. Just because people have access to you, doesn’t mean you need to let them rule your life. By trying to respond to all the messages as they come in, you are giving them control over what you do, and you become ineffective. You know what the hot items are for the day. Deal with those first. Don’t let other people’s emergencies (which they usually aren’t) become your own. Set your priorities for the day, and deal with those first.
- Set up a protocol for how you want people to communicate with you. Let them know that texting and instant messages are for true emergencies only. Of course you’ll have to define what an emergency means just to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- If you are getting bombarded with requests for information or help, this may be an indication that you are not delegating decision making to others. Take some time to reflect on this. Why are people calling, texting, emailing or twittering you? Do they really need to get a hold of you? Is there any way you can reduce the number of calls, texts and emails you get by delegating authority?
- Another very common reason that you may be getting so many calls, is that worker productivity is at an all time high. With a lean work force, many of us are doing more than we ever did before. If you cannot keep up with the constant demands for your time, it may be an indication that you are doing too much. If you are in the habit of saying “yes” to your boss all the time, perhaps it’s time to sit back and have a chat with him or her about the amount of work you are doing. If you are a high performer, it is ok to say “no” at times. Take control of your life.
Hope these help!
All the best!
All the time!