technology overload

Three Sanity Checks to Avoid Technology Overload

Technology, whether you embrace it or fight it, technology is difficult to avoid. Here’s a realistic scenario for a typical morning, any of this sound familiar to you?

It is 8:10 am, about 2 hours into my day. So far, I have listened to the radio; started the dishwasher; used a coffee maker; watched the morning news on television; checked text messages on my smartphone; used my tablet to google how to get to a client site later today; made and received phone calls using my smart phone (of course); listened to my voicemail; read and responded to a dozen emails; checked my online calendar and the to-do list on my laptop; scanned my Facebook newsfeed; read dozens of tweets; and made changes to a google-docs file. Once in my car, I will plop a Bluetooth earset on the side of my head and make more phone calls. Technology is part of my everyday life.

Technology is part of YOUR everyday life, too. Often the biggest challenge of the day is how to create balance–to be both productive and human–when the day is infused with gadgets that frustrate, frighten, or annoy.

Do I have the magic solution? The cure to all of your technology headaches? Of course! Hire me and I’ll make it easy. In all seriousness, however, while I would certainly love being able to help everyone make sense of technology overload and find balance–I struggle with it myself. Here are three areas where I think we can and should take control–just for sanity’s sake.

Email

The inbox is a major source of information overload. I teach what I call a “B.E.T.T.E.R.” process for managing email. B.E.T.T.E.R as in Browse. Evaluate. Trash. Table it. Everything else. Respond. These days, it’s pretty easy to find a variation of this theme, whether it’s Email Triage, or Inbox Zero, or the B.E.T.T.E.R process. The ‘e’ stands for electronic and it’s time to make the electronics work for you instead of against you–automate that inbox.

Social Media

By all means, use the Internet both for work and pleasure. Be findable on the Internet. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, as well as your Blog and website are effective tools when used to promote your relationship with your market as much as your products and services. But trying to maintain a viable presence everywhere on social media is just plain nuts. Be selective. Choose the services that you enjoy the most and find easiest to manage. And if it’s something you need for business, then look for a social media company or an expert like a social media virtual assistant to manage the business accounts for you.

File Management

You deal with documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, financials, emails–a plethora of files and information pouring in from electronic sources. Put the power of your computer to work so that you can get busy doing what you do best. To cure your technology headache if it’s caused by lost and misplaced digital files, there are only two choices, realistically. Hire someone to clean up after you or learn the basics and set up a system–then follow it. If you can manage a filing cabinet, then you can manage digital files. This is a one-time lesson to learn. Even the age-old (well, decades old) difference of opinion between Mac and PC users comes down to the same basic facts. Digital files get stored in digital file folders that get stored on digital pages (filing cabinet drawers) and hard drives (digital filing cabinets). Mac confuses the issue with libraries, but they’re just the card catalog that provides a map to the filing cabinets, drawers, and folders.

What area would you most like to master?

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