Technology Devices—Are They Making You More Productive or Making You More Distracted?

23185112_sIn today’s world of technology gadgets, there are more technology devices available to us than ever before. These devices can be both helpful and make us more efficient, but on the other hand, they can also create many distractions if we don’t manage them properly. Are you managing your technology or is your technology managing you?

Technology devices (smartphones, tablets, iPods, laptops, and so forth) can be extremely valuable tools if managed properly. Here are some tips for managing your technology:

  • Cell Phones – Just because your cell phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it. All too often we interrupt critical meetings, important conversations, and vital work time because the phone rings. It might be a convenient time for the caller to call you, but is it a convenient time for you to answer? Are there times throughout the day when you can put your phone on silent or vibrate so you can remain focused and limit the interruptions? Are there times you can simply ignore the caller allowing the call to go to voicemail and then return the call at a time that is more convenient for you?
  • Texting – Just because you receive a text and your phone beeps, dings, vibrates, or buzzes to notify you of a message doesn’t mean you again have to jump (unless perhaps it’s your boss). All too often our concentration and day is being constantly interrupted because of technology. Train those around you how to most effectively communicate with you during your workday so you can give your best efforts at work each day.
  • Tablets/Laptops – Are you using these technology tools effectively in meetings? Are you using them to capture notes during meetings, or are they preventing you from being 100% present to truly use your active listening skills, participate, and be fully engaged? If you cannot offer your undivided attention during the meeting time, evaluate if you really need to attend the meeting.
  • iPods – There is no doubt music can play a critical role in your productivity in the workplace when used with thoughtful etiquette and appropriately. We can use music to tune out distractions around us, create a relaxing atmosphere, and speed up productivity given the beat of the music. Just be aware that sometimes music can be too loud and distract the people around you (even if you are wearing earbuds or earphones). We can sometimes send the wrong nonverbal communication signals when wearing earbuds or earphones. You might find that you don’t hear someone asking you a question, don’t notice or hear that your desk phone is ringing, appear unavailable to respond quickly to an emergency situation, and even send the signal to your coworkers “to not interrupt me.”

I’m thrilled to have technology devices in my life, but I learned long ago that it is up to me to manage them in a way that helps me give my best each day!  I challenge you to evaluate how you are managing technology in your life.