use_technology_wiselyWith all of the technology devices at our fingertips these days, it is easier than ever to stay connected 24-7. But, how do we balance the need and desire to stay connected with the danger of technology taking over? By continuing to be the master of technology, not the servant!

I travel a lot for business in my role as a productivity consultant and professional speaker. Indeed, I am writing this column on my IPad at an airport, and will then email it to my online business manager (how’s that for 21st century technology?). When on the road, it is vital for me to be able to stay connected. But it is a constant balance between using technology to stay connected and get my work done, save time and be more productive, while not letting technology take over my life. To that end, here are some tips to help you stay connected, but maybe not exactly 24-7. Just because you can b e glued to your device doesn’t mean you should be!

Protect Yourself – Consider allowing only select people to break through to the inner sanctum. Just because you can be reached 24-7 doesn’t mean everyone needs to have access to you. Don’t share your itinerary and contact information with everyone. Use voice mail and email wisely to protect yourself by choosing when and how to reply back to people (see next point!).

Choose Times to Check In – Instead of constantly checking your email and voice mail messages, choose times of the day to check in. That way, you do not interrupt the flow of work (or play). This will help you be more proactive and less reactive. Studies show that email is a huge time bandit. It also creates an unnecessary need to continuously check it, which is a major interrupter in most people’s day. Plan your check-ins so that you are not reacting like Pavlov’s dog, salivating whenever you get an email.

appsThere’s an App for That – Choose which applications you will use on a regular basis and download only those apps to your smart phone or tablet. Yes, there are a multitude of apps available today, but the average person only uses 5 on a regular basis. Choose wisely, as apps can become electronic clutter and use an enormous amount of memory space on your device.

Use “the Cloud” – With today’s cloud-based technology, it is so easy to maintain information in a safe and easily accessible location so that you can access it when you need it on-the-go. From your contacts and client database, to your calendar and documents, everything can be stored in the cloud. Take a good, hard look at Google. It offers a lot more than people realize and can be your best friend when you need to stay connected away from home or the office. I also personally love Dropbox and Evernote, both great cloud-based tools for accessing notes, documents, and other data.

Be Courteous – You may be a technology junkie and love the idea of not only being accessible 24-7, but using your devices constantly to make phone calls, dictate reports, etc. If you are in a business setting, this is perfectly acceptable in this day and age. In fact, many commuter trains look like a technology explosion took place! But if you are in a quiet setting, or perhaps one that is not focused on business (some restaurants for example), be courteous to others and do not over-use your tech tools to the dismay of everyone around you. There is a time and place for using our technology to stay connected, and sometimes abstaining is the polite thing to do!

Coaching Challenge: Try to use the above tips to practice staying connected in a way that allows you to be more productive without feeling like you are addicted to technology. Let technology be the servant, not the master!

About Lisa Montanaro

Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and enjoy productive and profitable businesses. To receive her free Toolkit, Achieve Powerhouse Success with Purpose, Passion & Productivity, visit www.LisaMontanaro.com/toolkit. Lisa is the author of "The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life" published by Peter Pauper Press. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help you be purposeful, passionate and productive, contact Lisa at (530) 302-5306 or by e-mail at .

6 Responses to “Stay Connected, Not Addicted, by Using Technology Wisely”

  1. Janet Barclay

    I’m struggling with this issue of staying connected as I plan my upcoming trip to the 2014 NAPO Conference. When I looked up what I might have to pay for roaming fees, I learned that my cell phone service doesn’t even work in the US. So now, I’m trying to decide whether to get a temporary service for while I’m away – or just do without. Five years ago, it would have been an easy decision, but now, it’s a real dilemma.

    Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Hi Janet- Thanks for your comment. You raise a good point about international travel with a smart phone. Sometimes it is not as easy as we think. You have to have a SIM card that works in the location, and you may have to pay roaming fees. See if you can do a voice over internet option, or use Skype or some other online feature. Then I suppose you can use Wifi when in the location and not get charged roaming costs. Hope you work something out so you can stay connected! Looking forward to seeing you in person at the NAPO Conference in Phoenix.

      Reply
    • Lisa Montanaro

      Thanks for your comment, Margarita. Glad the post resonated with you and you will take the overall message to heart. We all need to make sure that technology is the servant, not the master. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Linda Samuels

    Love your choice of words: “email as a time bandit.” That’s so true. I like your suggestion for setting boundaries around check in times and being more strategic in when and how you use email.

    It’s also interesting how the landscape has changed because of technology. Just recently on trip to Boston, while riding the “T,” their mass transit, I was struck by how almost every person was completely focused on their smart phones. They were emailing, texting, and surfing the net. No one was conversing, or observing, or just being. We’ve become so tied to our tech that we often find it hard to engage in the actual world that’s right in front of us.

    Reply
  3. Lisa Montanaro

    Hi Linda –

    Thanks so much for your comment. You raise an interesting point about how people have their heads in their phones now in public places. I agree that it’s become somewhat of an epidemic and people aren’t engaging with others as much as they used to. On the other hand, for those of us that remember commuting when there were more people reading newspapers, they pretty much did the same thing. They would bury their head in the newspaper and not look up. I guess if people choose to engage, they will. Technology has been a blessing and a curse for sure! Thanks again for stopping by!

    Reply

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