September 10, 2005
By Dan Stamp
On my drive home from the office last week my cell phone chimed four times and my passenger checked his Blackberry twice-all in the space of fifteen minutes.
A recent survey by Hewlett-Packard found not surprisingly that over sixty percent of workers are addicted to checking messages out of office hours and while on vacation. The same survey concluded that these constant interruptions from technology robbed the average person of 10 IQ points-double the drop caused by missing a night's sleep-or of smoking pot!
Being constantly connected and 'in the know' will undoubtedly turn you into an informaniac and in time will lower your productivity and create unnecessary stress in your life. Signs of informania are everywhere-cell phones interrupting the romantic dinner date, a buzz in the pocket breaking into the all too rare conversation with a child, the laptop taken home at weekends and on the family vacation are all indications that work has overtaken life in the search for work/life balance.
Being constantly 'on' is also the enemy of creative thinking and innovation. Talking on the phone, answering countless emails or rushing to the next meeting does not allow you to think things through or answer the most important question-what's my real priority!
Put simply, overwork is just plain bad for business and bad for your health and happiness. Without enough time to rest, think, recharge and enjoy a balanced life, people become anxious, error prone and ill. All of our surveys show that what makes us happy and healthy is having enough time for family, friends, exercise and good old fashioned lazing around! So what to do?
Firstly, ask yourself if you pass the tombstone test. Will your tombstone read- 'answered every email received' or something more in keeping with your values? When did your boss last ask 'how much business did you get through while on vacation?'
Secondly, ask yourself 'who is going to get my life in balance?' If it's the person in the next cubicle-make an appointment with her immediately and ask for the plan. If it's the person sitting reading this then answer the next question.
Thirdly, 'what am I going to do differently today?' Am I going to turn my cell off when I leave the office, shall I go for a walk after dinner or call a friend. Maybe I'll just sit around and read a book.
So, if your inner workaholic is winning the race - it's time to make a change. If your technology is in charge of you - it's time to make a change. If you want to be happier ,healthier, more productive and more creative - it's time to make a change.
Daniel Stamp (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the chair and founder of Priority Management Systems Inc.
P.S. I let all the calls I receive in the car go to voicemail and never take my laptop on vacation!
If INFORMANIA is getting you down then register for one of the upcoming Working Smart with Outlook Web Shops offered at the convenience of your desk top via MS Office Meeting on Line.
November Class 10 and 17th
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