Jose Palomino

Changing the Expectation of Instant Availability

January 31, 2013

Original Post: How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)
By Jessica Kleimen | January 15, 2013

“In a world of multitasking and constant distractions — from the ping of texts and emails to everyone having to wear more hats at work than they used to —  time management is one of the biggest challenges. We might feel like we’re doing more — and, in a way, we are — but we’re actually getting less done in the process.”

As a person who loves efficiency — and as an entrepreneur who needs to utilize every minute in the day — this reality is enough to drive me crazy.

All around us, we hear people saying how they don’t have enough time and they are working around the clock.  If we never unplugged — if we’re checking our e-mail every time we hear the notification on our phones — then, in a sense, we’re always working.  But what’s the point?  Research has shown that taking breaks and vacations are actually better for productivity, so why can’t we power down and leave the phone in the other room for a few hours?

I think a big part of our inability to unplug has to do with expectations.  Our clients and our employees expect us to respond at any time because they do the same thing (and maybe we also expect the same thing of them).  How can we change this culture of immediacy?  Maybe it starts with clearing the air: let’s say you get a semi-urgent e-mail at 8pm at night, but 8pm is family time.  You know you’ll answer e-mails at 9 am the next morning, so first thing in the morning, you might say, “I’m sorry I was unable to respond last night.  Generally, I answer e-mails between 9-11am, and 4-6pm.”

How else do you power down without shirking responsibility?

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