Organize Your Day | Eliminate Overwhelm

Eliminating Overwhelm

I have found my new favorite television show.  The Anderson Cooper Show – which replaced Oprah here on the East Coast.  He discusses topics that are slightly controversial but mostly real life stories that we may not hear about and that touch your heart. 

On the October 25th show he discussed society’s need to be “connected” electronically.  With the use of blackberry’s, smart phones, ipads, xbox’s, mp3’s (which may be outdated now), and multiple laptops in every family, we are becoming disconnected from each other and the need to be connected is causing an increase in stress and anxiety. 

A family of 4 sent over 7,300 text messages a month, had 5 cell phones, 3 laptops, an ipad and 3 televisions in the home.  When they took a look at the amount of time that each family member spent checking electronic devices, etc. it was estimated that this family of 4 actually spent 30 minutes together every day.  The day was even checking his email while he was shaving and brushing his teeth in the morning!  The challenge was to spend 24 hours totally disconnected from all electronic devices.  Anderson Cooper even admitted that when he monitored himself, he checked his blackberry every 3-4 minutes – just in case someone sent him a message.

What does this have to do with being organized?  I think it is totally related to our daily increase in stress and anxiety.  Feeling the need to be connected “all the time” has become our lifestyle.  I don’t remember the exact percentage, but most people even sleep with the cell phone right next to them and get up in the middle of the night to check emails.  WHAT?  I’ll admit that I use my cell phone as my alarm clock because I am an early riser, but to sleep with it in bed? 

The reason that all of this resonates with me is because this is one recommendations that I make for my clients to help them focus during the day.  I ask them to take this challenge:

Check emails 3 times a day…morning, lunchtime and before the end of the day

Turn off the email alarm on your devices.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by a “ding” that doesn’t need to be answered.

Practice the same measures for your cell phone.  Turn down the volume and turn off the vibration.  Check it three times a day; morning, lunch time and prior to leaving for work.  (Unless your cell phone is your main phone for your business).   What I find extremely helpful is to let my voicemail pick up and listen to their message.  This gives the caller the opportunity to leave a message and me the opportunity to consider their need prior to talking to them.  If they don’t leave a message, I’ll call back when it is convenient for me.  Statistically, the phone call will be shorter when it is initiated by you because you are taking charge of your time.  This will help you stay focused and on track throughout the day.

I know…you are thinking that there is NO way that you can turn off all of your electronic devices.  Try doing it, just for one day.  I’m willing to bet that there won’t be anything that you miss that requires your immediate attention and you’ll be more productive.