Wellbeing@work: Desktop Detox
It is now more than eight weeks since I wrote down my New Year’s resolutions. Despite a promising start, some of them are still waiting to jump off the page and start jogging towards a healthier, fitter, calorie reduced future.And I’m not talking about only my personal wellbeing but,just a simportantly, about my professional health as well. My online arteries are clogged up with Mb heavy e-mails, there’s a cacophony of continuous tweets and chats, and my agenda constantly reminds me of meetings that can’t be missed and people that I have to call. Simply put, I’m suffering from data overload, with a rich diet of fatty megabytes and meeting minutes that threaten my performance and reduce my effectiveness on a day-to-day basis.
Time to act, time for a detox
With a mission statement ‘to boldly go where no desktop has gone before’,a strategy mapped out in a dynamic Prezi format and my actions summarized in an impressive mindmap, I am ready to immerse myself into the Zen-like world of the social business network. To prepare, I need to change my working habits, all of which have been carefully nurtured and honed to a tee over the past 20 years. Being from the generation that saw the rise of e-mail, I have embraced it as my #1 communication tool, archive, knowledge base and contact hub. The word “addict” springs to mind as I consider the time I spend reading, replying, sending, forwarding and archiving e-mail, encouraged by mobile technology that provides non-stop 24/7 access wherever I am - in the office, at the airport, on the train, and at home.
Fortunately, I have recently had some guidance from experienced trainers and coaches who have already undergone the process themselves and were therefore able to give me all the pointers I needed to tackle my addiction. So here are my tips based on their advice and a diet schedule for the coming months that will lead everyone to a leaner and healthier work life:
- Start the day with less fattening,low-fat info bites from your communities in your social business network. Notifications point you to the postings you need to check or actions you need to perform.
- Reduce your daily e-mail dose to 30 minutes,two times a day. Switch off incoming mail pop-ups too, so there will be no more distractions.
- Conduct productive online calls and meetings by restricting them to a maximum of 30 minutes. Particularly for project update calls, this ensures everyone gets to the point and stays focused. No more endless discussions on marginal topics.
- Take a break, and invite your colleagues for a quick coffee and a chat. Or take the time to go to lunch together, away from your desk and laptop. Be social, get to know your colleagues; you’ll find it will create a friendlier office climate that makes your work life more productive and fun.
- Focus on your tasks, neatly displayed in your online workspace. First things first -work on important, time-critical jobs initially, those things you have to do and then look at the tasks and things that you want to achieve that don’t have such constraints.
- Remove clutter and get organized both on your desk (paperless office!) and on your laptop. You will find it increases both your desk‘space’ and your mind space. Use the document management system to store your files in a neat, well organized structure. Version control ensures you will always have the latest version that everyone has been working on. So, no more storing multiple versions on your hard drive, that is probably creaking under the weight and in dire need of a defrag.
- Be on time for meetings. Good time keeping is a courtesy to your colleagues and prevents unnecessary frustration. So much time can be wasted waiting for everyone to arrive, and then meetings invariably run over time, causing the next meeting to start late!
- Create time to think. With overflowing agendas there is no room for creative thought, no moment to reflect and never enough time to consider things properly. To overcome this, simply book time in your agenda at the end or at the start of the day. An hour can make a big difference and can be used to read articles and material that interests you, or write down your thoughts and ideas of the day. Create your own work diary. Often by spending time to think things through and write down challenges and issues, your ideas become clearer and solutions and actions shape themselves.
And slowly, a glimpse of a leaner, healthier work style appears on the horizon. Growing more substantial day by day. Soon, that training course you want to attend will fit in your schedule and you’’ll have more mind space to work on that great idea you have been toying with for ages.You will have time for personal growth, to develop your skills and explore new areas of interest.
I know a diet always requires perseverance and determination but,in this case,I’m absolutely sure it will be worth the effort! So, how about it? Are you up for the challenge and ready to join me in a desktop detox?