December 28, 2013 · 5:30 pm
So I finished my week of Powering Down and Unplugging. I was on vacation, so I can’t really say I was more productive without being constantly connected, but it was more relaxing, and I honestly (despite being a social media addict) didn’t miss it that much.
But speaking of productivity, I did pick up a brilliant idea from my father-in-law that I intend to implement upon returning to work in January. I lose all sorts of valuable time at work when people just drop in, and ask “Do you have a minute?”
As my FIL concurred, these people always require more than a minute, and I am distracted from whatever task I was working on before the interruption. This, obviously, decreases my productivity during my time in my office. Case in point: this semester when we hit the end-of-the-semester grading crunch, I actually had to take a sick day to finish grading all my students’ projects from home because I couldn’t get anything done in my office. I often end up working from home, after hours to finish stuff I should have been able to complete in the office during regular business hours–had I only not had all those extra minutes stolen from me.
I’d like to be able to unplug more than once a year. After work or on the weekends would be a great time for that–except I can’t because I’m usuallyconnected for work. The number of e-mails I write, read, and respond to after hours or on the weekend is absurd. I’m hoping that implementing my FIL’s idea will help. Here’s what he shared:
He used to have this sand timer he would keep in his office. And when someone would walk in and say “Do you have a minute,” he would flip the timer and say, “I can give you two.” I need a sand timer…because this is brilliant in its simplicity. If people can’t get what they need in two minutes, they should schedule an appointment. Really.
Note: This applies to the administrative part of my job. Obviously, on the teaching side, regularly scheduled office hours are specifically for student drop-ins.
December 20, 2013 · 3:47 pm
I ran across this article the other day, and I agree with the idea that “people have a pathological relationship with their devices.” I know I do. I’m constantly checking the smart phone, the tablet, the iPad, the MacBook, the laptop…and the list goes on. And I’m a big social media addict, regularly using Facebook, Twitter (multiple accounts), Instagram, LinkedIn…you get the idea. I’m connected–as connected as a person can be probably.
I also agree with this: “Our addiction to screens is affecting our well-being, productivity and creativity…”. And I’m ready for a break. Today is my last day of work until January 3rd. And I mean that. I am not checking that e-mail account one more time effective immediately. For real. I’m also going to unplug my other devices. Ok–maybe not so much unplug as at least put on Airplane Mode (i.e. disconnect from the Internets). I still want to get phone calls or text from friends, my husband, and in case of emergencies. But I’m saying no to e-mail (all 4 accounts) and no to social media (all…however many accounts) and no to the internet in general.
This isn’t altogether new for me. For the past two years at this time, I’ve done the same thing. And each time I really enjoyed it. I read books, watched movies, wrote, relaxed, played with the dogs, went on walks, cooked real meals, and just generally enjoyed the time off. The difference between those years and this year is simple: for the last two years, we went up into the mountains, where there was no service. So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t check in. And again, I loved it. It was so freeing. This year we’re at home and Verizon works just fine here. But I’m making a commitment. Effective tomorrow I’m putting these mobile devices on Airplane Mode and disconnecting for a week. We’re having a real vacation.
“See” you in a week–when I’ll probably tell you all about how awesome my time off has been. Happy holidays!