With the information technology world spinning so fast, we now have the opportunity to be “connected” 24/7/365. Email, texts, and social media are examples of tools that can help us in the work that we do, but they can also cause us stress and frustration.
What can we do to get a better handle on these tools so that we control the tools and not have the tools controlling us? I read an article by Tony Richards, an organizational and executive development expert, in the Columbia Business Times (March 28, 2017).
In the article Tony identified five strategies to re-energize your self as a leader. Following are the five strategies:
Get comfortable with tools that work for you. If you are typically an early adapter, you may be trying to utilize everything in the technology, information, or social media world. You know these people, right? Just when you were learning Facebook, they became the mayor of so-and-so on Foursquare. You said, “What’s Foursquare?”
Tune-out day. Oh no, he’s not going to suggest it, is he? Yes, I am. You need days where you shut it off. Shut of the cell phone, don’t check e-mail, stay off Twitter, and fill in your favorites. About five years ago, I turned off my e-mail auto checker. I got tired of that little window coming up in the lower right corner, distracting me when I was concentrating on a project. Now, I check my email purposefully three or four times a day and answer expediently. If you can’t bring yourself to do it for a whole day, do an afternoon or evening, but pick at least one period of time each week.
Chill. Relax a little bit by yourself or work on a project uninterrupted. When you’re unplugged, be cool with that and get some work done. I promise you’ll feel more energized by getting real work done than by being plugged in to all your information sources and gadgets.
Get clarity on your expectations. How much time do you want or need to be an information junkie? Make decisions on what you expect from yourself as far as information and productivity go. I’m not saying you don’t need to be informed; I’m saying you need to constantly be aware of how much balance you need to maintain a high energy level as a leader.
Remove your triggers. If you have events or instances that trigger your technology fix, identify and remove them. You might have a habit of checking your email at traffic lights. Worse yet, you may fiddle with your phone while you’re waiting for dinner and your loved one is sitting across from you trying to wait patiently. Try leaving your phone in a place you can’t get to while driving. If you go out to lunch or dinner with someone, leave your phone in the car. Your relationships will improve and you’ll find relief.
I challenge each of you to try and implement at least one of the strategies. Over time you may be able to implement additional strategies. Hopefully you will be able to create a bit more balance in your life and grow your effectiveness as a leader!
As always please contact me at 651.319.1211 if I can be of service!