So, I wanted to seize this opportunity to offer some tactics for managing your technology in case you find it starting to manage you.
email for most of us is a looming load of work that is waiting for us each morning and continues pinging you throughout the day. Certainly, it is important and if you ignore it for too long, you're bound to pay the price later (e.g., your Dean catches you in the hall, saying, "Did you get my email?"). So here are a couple of tips to consider to stay effective and still manage your email.
- Don't check email first thing: for many who are most productive in the morning, it is wise to start with your most important work first thing in the day and save email till later.
- Set times during the day when you check email.
- Create an organization system and rules in your email and delete messages you don't need.
- Turn emails into tasks and then get rid of the email clutter.
- Close email when you're not working on it. (the sound alert and temptation to open email when you're doing something else can get the better of you).
Now, for many of us, phones are another email device, but it's also your social media device. I sometimes catch myself in a social media spiral where I go from email to facebook to twitter to email again. So, be cognizant of your phone as a distraction. Here are some tips:
- Be intentional and honest about why you're checking your phone. Is it necessary? Are you procrastinating? And make an intentional decision. (Deschene, 2013)
- Consider putting your phone on silent and out of view when trying to focus (note: for parents or those "on call" in any sense, this may not be realistic)
- If you have a social media checking habit, allow yourself to check your phone as a reward for doing solid work on a project. (maybe set a time limit for your reward so you don't get sucked in)
- Remember, multitasking is a myth, if you're checking your phone in a meeting or while on your office phone, you're not focusing well on anything.
Managing email effectively - mindtools
Multitasking - mindtools
Manage your day-to-day: Build your routine, find your focus & sharpen your creative mind - Glei & Belsky, 2013)