Compliments of aranarth via Flickr

In my organizing research, a time saving recommendation is to cease constant e-mail checking. People are addicted to electronic accounts due to their immediate payoff – there may after all be something of importance in our inboxes. Weaning myself from checking multiple times/day has been freeing (in more ways than one).

For starters, I’m not continually distracted by opening another program. Work e-mail is now checked 2x/day (morning and evening), personal e-mail is checked once/week (on the same day), and social networking sites are checked at month end. I run virus and spyware guards (and clear the cache/cookies) on both machines once per week.

This regimen both frees my time and gives me peace of mind. Now everything is on track, I’m only doing what’s necessary, and I’m not wasting my time. Removing mindless activity moves us in the direction of doing what’s important – e.g., finishing projects, exercising, clearing our minds, and spending more time with the ones we cherish.

To reduce temptation, I turn off the router when I’m not using my home computer. I now find that I don’t miss incessant checking, and that I’m very much enjoying “time off” and increased productivity. Our electronics can ensnare (and enslave) us. If it were necessary, could you unplug for an entire day?

I heard recently that children born today are likely to spend 25 percent of their lives “on screen.” Before the advent of handheld paraphernalia, people actually spent time speaking to one another. Conversing has become a lost art – one that has been usurped by messages 140 characters or less, and by texting that’s seemingly sent in code. Talking on the telephone allows me to gauge mood through inflection.

Communicating at people (rather than with them) seems to be the new norm – one that will no doubt gain in popularity as the 3D internet is unleashed. Although we cannot avoid a medium which is now entrenched, we can find ways to compartmentalize so that it doesn’t consume our lives. Below are some suggestions to decompress:

  • At a specific time, turn off your cell phone. Better yet, instead of immediately responding to a call let the voice mail pick up. That way, you can selectively choose your interaction.
  • Put nuisance callers on a “blocked” listing in your cell provider’s “account settings” menu. Some individuals think that mobile phones enable them to reach you at all hours of the day. Put a stop to phone stalking by taking preventative measures.
  • Be diligent in adhering to your new e-mail fast. Channel the withdrawal you initially experience into exercise, and immediately reap the benefits of freed time.
  • Desist mindless web surfing and limit electronic gaming. Both activities can be addictive.
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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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