Just Switch It Off

For a while now, I’ve been hearing people say how they’re continously interrupted by e-mail and social networks. Maybe the people I’m coming across are hyper-connected and highly tech-orientated, but I do feel like there’s a problem with electronic communication in the workplace. 

The main problem is that you think that the problem lies with other people when actually, the only person who can deal with this is you. (Sorry to get personal, but saying “the problem is that those people who think they’re being interrupted… etc” is really clunky. So, style over context here.)

People are usually looking for a “method” that will help them tackle the technological nightmare. How can I stop all the digital interruptions like Twitter? How can I not feel over-burdened by email? How can I find the time to read all the links that people send me? 

The answer is very simple. Begin to understand that not doing is an option. That “TURNING OFF” is a powerful action that can open up a whole new range of possibilities. 
While you see switching off your mobile device or your e-mail as disconnecting from the world instead of creating the opportunity to reconnect with what YOU want to do, you will continue to view these interruptions as inevitable. I think it’s healthier to begin to see them as something you can control.

Before you design or follow a method for dealing with this, you need to change your mindset. It’s that easy. And that hard.
Having said that, once you decide how you want to run your life (for managing all this is part of running your life), you need to communicate this to others in some way. 
  • If you’re going to check e-mail only twice a day and not at weekends, maybe you can include this in your signature. 
  • If you’re tired of having text or e-mail  conversations going backwards and forwards, pick up the phone. (This one is radical and you do it at the risk of the other person not being able to talk, but then if this is the case, they shouldn’t pick up.) Ok, maybe don’t share this one with too many people or else the silence bliss in public transport that is only interrupted by the overspill of loud music from headphones will be replaced by the annoying multitude of one-way conversations we were getting used to a couple of years ago. 

Bullet points usually come in threes, but I think this is all I’ve got to say on this matter. 

If technology is really having an effect on your life, do something about it. If it isn’t, then let’s talk about something else.

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