Stop thinking about email and social media as “communication on demand” and take control of your work flow. It seems like we’re always on. Email and social media can quickly eat up our day and it feels overwhelming. How we currently think about and use modern communication is the cause of unnecessary stress. This is a legitimate health and life style concern. It’s also a productivity concern.
It’s unreasonable to give everyone else control of your daily work flow and think you’ll be effective. When you spend your day fulfilling everybody’s agenda, but your own, you’re just hustling in circles chasing your tail.
The problem with instant communication is we feel as though we need to respond back instantly. We use these communication tools like we use the phone – when someone speaks, we speak. The technology has advanced but the doctrine on how we use it is archaic.
The email will be there when you get to it. The outbound social media can be scheduled with tools like Hootsuite. The replies can be done when you get to it.
What to Do
Once you accept you need to use your time more productively, take one simple step to start off.
Set two times of day where you’ll deal with email and social media. Give it a time limit of 15 -30 minutes each. The social media can actually be done once a day if you want. Set up an email auto responder which informs people of when you deal with email. That’s it.
Colleagues, bosses, and important clients or contacts which may need to get a hold of you right away should already have a way to do so. Inform the people you work with of the plan.
People will fall in line. The only reason we respond to email right away is we were never trained to do anything different. It’s a self imposed pressure. The only reason anyone expects an email replied to immediately is because that’s the only way they’ve known it to be. They’re not emotionally attached to that belief and will respect your process.
This one step will get the ball rolling. If you see success with this, look at other areas where you can manage your time better.