Availability is making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of others. – CharacterFirst
Recently, the topics of technology and hyper-connectivity have come up in my conversations with several clients.
Did you know the first BlackBerry was released in 1999? Then,
…in 2003 the more commonly known smart phone BlackBerry was released, which supports push email, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. (Wikipedia)
Yes, my boss was so excited the day UPS delivered his BlackBerry. Now, he was connected. I remember him telling me how the Regional VP responded to his emails within a matter of minutes. It seemed as if this had become a new leadership benchmark.
It a matter of weeks we were excited to receive this new life-saving device … I mean time saving tool.
What does being available mean?
To be available suggests being present for immediate use, accessible. Now I find it interesting that the archaic definition of available is: having a beneficial effect.
According to Dr. Kimerer LaMothe, in her article “What a Body Knows”
…findings published from the Kaiser Foundation’s research project on children and their media use shocked technophobes and -philes alike. According to the report, kids ages 8-18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day plugged into an electronic device (such as an iPod, smart phone, computer, or television). This figure does not include an extra hour and a half spent texting or talking on cell phones; time devoted to homework, or an extra three and a half hours of media exposure accrued by multitasking.
Are you concerned for our children and grandchildren?
How about you? If you feel hyper-connected, how beneficial does it feel?
E-mail and Time
Let’s narrow the conversation to e-mail. E-mail is computer-to-computer communication system. (Encarta Dictionary: English, North America)
A Google search for “email and time management” produced over 1 million hits addressing the need to manage e-mail and the overload many feel with their e-mail inbox.
Back to the character quality of availability … making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of others; to live like this, requires boundaries.
Availability speaks to our ability to serve when someone needs help. This is NOT to be confused with unrestricted connectivity and unlimited access to one’s attention.
When it comes to e-mail, what if…?
When it comes to managing your inbox for greater productivity, remember snail mail. Although I have not monitored it, my USPS Mail Carrier consistently delivers our mail Monday through Saturday during a 30-minute window.
Yes, some people lease a Post Office Box, often so they can access their mail earlier. Businesses, especially those receiving checks via mail are willing to incur the additional investment of time and resources for the privilege. Otherwise, we have been trained to wait.
Here are three step to help you manage incoming e-mail and still be available …
- Check e-mail at designated times (Think “Dr. Pepper Time” 10, 2, and 4 o’clock). What if you let key players know your plan?
- Set the course of your day based on goals and priorities, not what is delivered to your inbox overnight
- Use the telephone or text message if an immediate answer is truly needed
Living with the character quality of availability requires clarity in our day of hyper-connectivity.
How do you manage your e-mail inbox?
Please forward to a friend or colleague.
Have you pick up my new book?
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader