Harnessing Technology: Getting Your Email, Text Messages, and Phone Calls Under Control

Administrative Assistant Resource
October 9, 2013 — 1,613 views  
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Technologies like email, phone calls and text messages are a great boon at the work place, but they can also interrupt work. If you do not bring them under control, they can even affect your progress at work. The best thing to do is to plan your use of technology. This will lead to effective time management.

Think about your last day at work and the interruptions you had to tackle. Your normal work day has only so many hours and when these interruptions distract you, you are robbed of the time you could have otherwise used to complete your goals and achieve success in your life and work. Worst of all, they hinder your focus. You will have to spend more time later, re-engaging with your thought process.

Most of these interruptions are self-inflicted. It is not necessary to check emails constantly, to take non-urgent phone calls or to do other routine unimportant tasks. Here are a few tips that will help you bring these technologies under your control and harness them for the best results in your work.

Set a Schedule and Stick to it

One of the best ways to make the most of your time is to plan a schedule. Scheduling can be defined as the process of analyzing the time that is available and coming up with a plan to use it to achieve your goals. Here are a few things to note when you make a schedule.

  • What can be realistically achieved in the time available?
  • How can you make the best use of the available time?
  • Leave time for things that have to be done.
  • Allocate some contingency time to deal with the unexpected.
  • Minimize stress by preventing over-commitment.

Prioritize your Work

When you prioritize your work, you can control it. But to prioritize effectively, you must understand the difference between urgent, important and unnecessary work. All of your work will seem urgent and you might have a tough time choosing what to prioritize, but it is not so.

Select tasks that cannot wait and put them on a master list. Next, look for tasks generated during the course of work. These will involve phone calls and emails that can be delayed. At the end of the day, set apart 15 minutes to prioritize your work for the next day.

Break the Habit of 'Checking' or Saving Emails for Later

Many people have a habit of checking their emails compulsively. They will check it 20 times, 30 times and even 40 times a day. It is understandable. They want to remain up to date and current. But in this effort to be responsive, you can still get derailed. You can lose focus from your work. You can also lose yourself trying to fulfill everyone else's agenda, and when the day ends, you are exhausted but your work is still not complete.

Try batching your emails, your text messages or your phone calls. This means you can answer a group of them at certain periods only.

Make it so that unimportant phone calls automatically go to voice mail and adopt the zero inbox approach. All emails automatically go to certain folders. Turn the notification icon or tray on your computer off, so that you are not distracted.

Separate Your Work Life from Your Personal Life

Work and home are a state of mind. Some people spend years at the same desk and never really get involved in their work. Others can work energetically from their bed.  A vast majority of people see work as a necessary evil that they must do to lead a decent life. It is the means that helps them meet their daily expenses and in best cases, buy a treat every once in a while.

To have work-life balance and to not get the feeling that work is a burden, schedule time for your family and your personal life. There are many things that do not add value, like aimless internet surfing, television, video games and more. If you engage in these things, and if you say that you do not have time for your family, then you are not being fair to yourself.

Administrative Assistant Resource