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More and more people are spending countless hours per week using the internet, email, cell phones, and instant messenger connections.
With so much attention placed on what the technology can do, how much information it can offer, and how much cheaper and faster it is becoming, comparatively little attention has been paid to the issue of when to use technology most wisely.
Men's Health reported that 46% of men check their cell phone first thing in the morning, even before they've gotten out of bed. This statistic is astounding. What is so important that your entire life momentarily comes to a standstill as you check your cell phone? You need to see who's gotten in touch with you lately? What's the latest in terms of your correspondence? What's happening in the news?
For tens of thousands of years, obviously, people arose without a cell phone. They went about their day, as it unfolded. Now, we have this artificial intrusion. The cell phone is the all-encompassing information-conveying machine taking over the lives of too many people.
What difference could it make when you don't check your cell phone until after you've gotten up, gone to the bathroom, even gotten dressed, maybe even had breakfast, and so on? What about you being in control of your day? What about not letting whatever late-breaking event or message that made its way onto your little screen dictate where you give your time and attention?
When you recognize that you are among those who perhaps have not only been checking his or her cell phone too often, but are actually ruled by your cell phone in a manner of speaking, here are two vital timing tips for reclaiming control:
* Establish rules of engagement – Will you check your phone just before you go to bed? Probably, but only once, and perhaps offering no replies to messages that have come in late. Will you check first thing in the morning, perhaps, but not as the single most compelling issue of the morning.
* Do not sleep with your cell phone in your bedroom – Yes, we all know the arguments about being able to respond in an emergency. Still, it is not worth having to be enslaved to that little machine for the one call in 10 years or the one email that might arrive and truly represent an emergency. Besides, for most issues, there's not much you can do at 2 or 4 in the morning anyway.
When you carry your cell phone with you at all times, and retrieve all calls and e-communications in real time, then you never experience anticipation. Sure, you’re current right up to the minute, and as desirable as that might sound, it promotes the notion that that's the only way to exist.
When the ability of others to reach you at any time is constant, the quality of your thoughts change. Are you able to have quiet stretches without intrusion? Are you able to gather your best thoughts, or simply contemplate what you'll do for the next hour, the rest of the day, or the rest of the week? Don’t ditch your cell phone: Use it more wisely.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com
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