What makes us faster makes us slower! Technology in all its advances has made it possible to get less done in more time! Our so called labor saving devices are now actually the biggest time suck in our lives. No longer are there traditional ‘business hours”. My kids deal with work issues well before 9am and certainly past 5pm Monday through Friday. In many ways, we are failing at the now 24/7 society we thought was so efficient. In fact we are becoming “blended people”. No longer are we transitioning from our private lives into our work lives each day, our lives are now a combination of both. Truthfully, that is a shame!
People are slaves to their technology. Addicted to instant gratification so badly, the very thought of working toward an outcome over time is foreign to most of those under 35. It’s all about what I can have NOW! The challenges are many with this way of thinking. Instant gratification dilutes patience and persistence. Without these qualities, we are finding more shallow people with increasingly shallow lives.
I am not saying all technology is bad, and the 24/7 need for connecting isn’t the end of the world; but the ability to manage and control the information is critical to anyone in the service arena. Clearly because we want to serve our clients and referral partners, not become a slave to them. We need to use our technologies in conjunction with logic to serve our needs while serving the needs of others. One of the ways to do that is to integrate expectations with your technology so everyone understands how to communicate effectively with each other.
A prime example of this is trying to engage in a running conversation in either email or text message. How many times do we get a question via email or text that seems to run on, message after message; entire chains of five, six, seven, or more messages trying to get a single question answered? We have all seen it. In fact, I am sure we are all victims of this process. My solution is, after the first time your reply is met with a secondary question or incorrect interpretation of what your answer is, do NOT send another email or text, pick up the phone and have a conversation!!! In most cases, a single thirty second call can eliminate dozens of back and forth texts or emails.
Just try it for one week. Explain to everyone that in the future, anytime there is the slightest confusion about anything, you are going to pick up the phone and have a short conversation to resolve the issue. This fits in well with setting certain times of the day when you return calls and emails. How nice would it be to turn your phone off for 21 hours of the day to inbound calls and emails? How much calmer would you be? How much more work could you get done? What would the quality of your life be?
Now I know that many of you are already suffering anxiety from just thinking about disconnecting like that. And yes, I do expect that some people in your life might have challenges with this new philosophy. But I am telling you, if you have a simple conversation, set specific parameters by which you will connect back with them; most people will not only appreciate having a clear communication plan, but they will also be rewarded by not getting caught up in an endless trail of emails and text messages.
Just try it! You can do it! Set the expectations and execute the plan. You will find your life will get better if you just pick up the phone can call! Resolve the issues, and put the damn phone or email away!