Do you Power Off or Are you Always On

image004-300x209Do you take your Electronics on vacation?  Do you sometimes “hate” your cell phone ?  A recent survey recently reported that one-third of vacationers take their laptops on vacation.  During a meal at a restaurant recently, I watched a man sitting with his family talking on his cell phone — obviously about business. He was not happy – neither was his family! Its how you train your customers and your friends. YES YOU CAN.

Short of you being in the police or some DR. or some field that you are required to be on standby, why would you need to be reachable 24/7. Especially when you are on vacation. Are you kidding me. When I go on vacation I don’t want to talk to anyone.

A family member once asked why do you turn your phone off what if an emergency happened in the middle of the night and someone tried to reach you. The fact is I control my electronics it does not control me. On my phone there is a setting which I am sure is on all phones that allows certain numbers to come through even if your phone is on night setting. So i have my family members on that setting. Everyone else can wait till morning.

It is very convenient if you are looking for a place when you are on vacation to open your laptop and look it up. But guess what they have tourist information for that.  How comforting to know that your family can reach you in case of an emergency – or something to celebrate! — regardless of where you are in the world.

So here’s the question:  Should you take your laptop on vacation?  Should you keep your cell phone be on 24/7?  Clients often ask, “What should I do?”  My answer:  “That’s the wrong question.  The question is “What will you do?”    Maybe an even better question would be “What would you like to do?”  Perhaps the best question of all is “What action will bring you the best results?”   In order to answer that question, you have to take the time to answer “What ARE your best results?”

Repeatedly I have emphasized that one definition of “organization” is “controlling the things you can control, so you can cope with the things you can’t.”   In the complex world in which we live, especially with the level of connectivity available, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that we are victims of other people. I cringe when someone complains about having to answer their cell phone. I especially hate it when I am having a meeting or a meaningful conversation with someone and they answer the phone or their text when it rings.

If you don’t want to be reached, you can “power off.”  If you have to be reachable because your job requires it, then the question may be “Are you in the right job?”  Or, have you simply trained people that you are “always available.”  Customer service is great, but it doesn’t require 24/7 response.  It requires good communication.  It’s highly frustrating to leave a message and get no response for days, but few situations would suffer if the response came one hour later so you could have lunch with a colleague without interruption.

Connectivity can be addictive.  An addiction is something that reduces the quality of your life and the people around you.

So what does all this have to do with productivity?  My passion is helping individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so everyone can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives.  When used appropriately, connectivity does help you accomplish your work and enable you to play. It can also undermine your priorities at work, destroy your health, and poison your relationships when used inappropriately.

The issue is not whether you take your laptop on vacation or leave your cell phone on 24/7. For some people, the ability to check e-mail once a day on vacation brings peace of mind and can be done when others are sleeping or swimming. For others, the whole idea of a vacation is not taking your laptop. There is no “right” or “wrong.”  The question is whether your choice is enhancing or diminishing your life and the lives of the people around you.

So “Power Off” or “Power On?” – it’s truly up to you!

P.S.  SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: The quality of life and good business is NOT about being reachable 24/7. Its about making sure that you provide the answers to your clients in a timely and effective manner. Manage your time effectively and manage your addiction to connectivity better.



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