Succumbing to the electronic leash

That’s what a reseller told me she did the other day. The Blackberry has entered her world. She has bought in, upgraded, and is now in the process of learning how to use this time management gadget. I asked her what her goals were for “buying in” to the theory that she really needed one. She said that between juggling her work time, her family’s time, and her own personal time, she was always multi-tasking and on the go. She needed one small device that could do everything for her, from anywhere. She said her hope is to create synergies between all of her life’s hats, so that she could be more organized and productive. Bravo… if that’s what she uses it for. There are certainly two schools of thought on all these electronic devices out there that supposedly make your life more efficient: they either do just that or they suck up even more of your precious time. If you’re considering upgrading to a Blackberry, iPhone, or any one of the dozens of smartphones or PDAs out there, create a usage plan similar to your own strategy plans:

–          What’s your goal for buying one? If you will save time and streamline your organizational efforts, it makes sense to use one. Just remember that as important as it is to be “connected,” it’s just as important to unplug (like when you’re enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner).

–          If you’re still putting appointments in your Daytimer, contacts in your Rolodex, and that same, identical information into your PDA, you’re not maximizing your time effectively. What makes a PDA a wonderful management tool is that everything is in one place (makes it quicker to find things). It’s time to toss out that paper trail. 

–          Will you allocate time to “work” on your PDA or check it randomly? Just like managing email, blogging, or tweets, you need to commit the time to keep your time management device updated and functioning to its fullest.

The big question surrounding your decision to upgrade your management device is, are you ready to be connected 24/7? Because you will be — or you will be expected to be instantly available. Set parameters for yourself and for those you communicate with. Create a plan and then stick to it.

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