I was interviewed for the article on The Glasshammer “Being Fully Present: How to Avoid the Technology and Work/Life Clash” about the role of technology in work/life balance issues. Check out the article by Tina Vasquez.
OK, we have taken technology to an entirely new level. In fact, as you watch this You-Tube video, you might find yourself thinking of an entirely new way to bring your musical instruments on the road.
My family begins to arrive today. The lemon cakes are baking. The table is set and the bowls set out for taco soup (A one-stop dish that meet gluten-free standards and healthy appetites). Even my Bagpipe playing Santa is on the table.
From my house to yours: A joyous, love-filled Holiday Season. I’d love to know how you celebrate!
A Harris Interactive survey for Whitepages.com released findings on what communication modes are most open to misunderstanding. Not surprisingly, 80% of adults found it most easy to misinterpret the tone of e-mail. Seventy-eight percent found text messages to be misleading, while 71% could also be put off by letters. Consider this: all these modes are flat, one-sided genres that allow the reader to intuit just about anything into the mix.
In our crazy busy world, how often do we automatically push the send key and instantly regret that action? Or how about the mistake of using upper case letters and the reader thinks he is being shouted at? Then too, in the rush to respond and be brief, single line messages can come across as terse, harsh and often inflammatory. Small wonder that e-mail might also stand for escalation and error.
Words are just that: words. But in the English language, the nuances of verbal inflection and facial expressions make all the
difference in true communication. Read the phrase “What ever possessed you to come to this conclusion?” The text message version might even be “Are you nuts!” Chances are that you are already feeling a negative emotion as you read these words. Even letters run a 71% chance of being read incorrectly.
But let’s add voice to it. Imagine you hear a very neutral voice on the telephone asking the question, “What ever possessed you to
come to this conclusion?” Imagine that you hear it as if a counselor were talking to you, coming from a place of inquiry rather than
accusation. Your response would be quite different. For this reason, telephone conversations stand a 47% better chance of being
So telephone conversations are better but not the best communication vehicle. The amount of subtle and not-so-subtle meaning carried by the eyes and facial muscles is amazing. When face-to-face communication is used, the conversations are correctly understood 63% of the time.
With odds like this, the natural assumption is that leaders and anyone dealing with customers would spend more time in either face-to-face or telephone conversations. But both research and consumer experience indicates the opposite.
Bottom line: talk is not cheap-it’s priceless. The competitive edge does not have to be more bells and whistles on a CRM system or
another layer of voice mail doom loops. For once, it’s not sophistication that’s required but rather a remembering that at the end of
the day, people want to work for and buy from people with whom they have a relationship.
Here’s the most powerful mantra for creating that relationship: “Start talking and get to work!”
Last week, my big desktop PC crashed, my laptop got the “blue screen: of death”. The refrigerator croaked, and the toaster oven went the heaven. My I-phone decided to stop receiving e-mail and the dashboard in my car kept erroneously sending warning messages.
It wasn’t even a full moon!
As marvelous as all our technology is, chronic malfunctions and crashes and the constant demand to keep up might account for the fact that at least one in four of us will admit to physically assaulting a device. There’s even a ratio for judging the attack because the chances of failure are in direct proportion to the urgency of the task they are needed for. Hence the scream heard from my assistant as she tried to get out my summer newsletter before autumn.
It doesn’t get better. The 2009 March/April issue of Psychotherapy Networker says that such chronic, unalleviated stress compromises our cognitive and emotional functions as well as undermining our immune system. Nor does it when a workplace (often unknowingly) contrives urgency by leashing employees with PDAs, laptops, pagers, and anything else for instant access and response.
Well intentioned. And ultimately a timewaster and a driver of increased health care costs.
What happens is that we continually try to multitask, toggling back and forth, answering the ping of instant messages, and wind up feeling constantly “on”. Instead of concentrating on one task, we unconsciously scan for the next message or task, thus spending often 50% more time on one job before taking on another.
Ways to conquer the beast:
1. Manage your energy not your time. You don’t run marathons every day yet we try and do the equivalent at our work. Studies of energy suggest a 90-minute rhythm. This means stopping and doing something to recovers your energy expenditure. (Coffee and chocolate don’t count. Nor does smoking). Take a 4-minute relaxation break. Walk outside, deep breathe, trying biofeedback. Go outside. Drink water. And when it’s time—go home without work.
2. Program your computer to delete messages after 30 days. If no one has screamed by then, how important could it be?
3. Send out the equivalent of a “do not disturb” sign, telling folks you will respond from 3-4pm daily. If it’s an emergency – call you.
4. Turn off rings, pings, dings, and anything that sings.
5. Distinguish between uninterrupted work time and answer time.
6. Work with your team to determine the important and urgent from the unimportant.
7. Cut to cord. If you continue to remain connected all the time—you have only yourself to blame with the constant barrage of requests.
8. At the end of the day, reset to zero. You did what you could. It’s done. Over. Finito. Do NOT plan tomorrow today. Your brain will start working on it and there goes the sleep. Shut the door of your office. Turn off the computer. Reset to zero. Tomorrow is a new day.
9. Do NOT take the PDA to bed with you. Give it a rest. Give all of us a rest.
Without boundaries, Tyrannosaurus Techno will win again.