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Who schedules your day - you or your phone?

E-mail: a to-do list to which anyone may add. (Author unknown)

Your dinging, buzzing, vibrating phone is stressing you out

By Sammy Caiola, The Sacramento Bee

Doug Ross, 31, wakes every morning to a screen full of notifications.

He receives updates from news apps, chats from coworkers and emails from East Coast clients, all beckoning to be answered before the workday even starts. Working during the day as a consultant for the software company Adobe, the alerts pour in on a near-constant basis. He usually answers within seconds.

"I never have it away from my person," said Ross, a Sacramento, Calif., resident, about his phone. "That gives me anxiety. It bothers me, because I know what is going to be on the phone when I get back to it, or what I’m going to miss."

Just how time-sensitive are most messages you receive? Who controls what you do in your day and when? Do notifications on your phone make you more or less productive with your time?

I think I have finally mastered the notification feature on my iPhone. It's quite simple - just shut them all off. No beeps, no vibrations, no messages on the lock screen. This includes voice call ringing. Now and then I check for voice mails and texts - but unless I know there is an emergency happening, it is on my schedule.

The secret to successful cell phone use is that one should use it only to harass others, never allow it to harass you.

Most time-management gurus recommend only checking one's e-mail once or twice a day. I would extend that advice to texts, news feeds, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. The SQUIRREL! distraction factor is far too high when push media send out alerts.

I often wonder just how we functioned before we became permanently attached to our phones. How did we let someone know when we would be late? How did we find each other in the shopping center? How did we let others know those items we'd forgotten from the grocery list?

At the risk of sounding like a geezer, I believe this instant communication ability has eroded our planning skills. Why carefully figure out what time you need to leave to get to the restaurant by 6 if you can always text those you are meeting if you are running late? Why prepare a plan for implementing a project when you can manage-as-you-go via phone?

Most of us need large, uninterrupted blocks of time to do thoughtful, meaningful work. Many of us have lost perspective about what constitutes a timely response (within 12 hours seems timely to me). Too many of us have created workplaces in which the boss's permission rather than the worker's judgement is paramount.

If you call, be sure to leave a message. I'll get back to you - eventually.

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Reader Comments (1)


May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKenn Gorman

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