More and more I'm discovering- the more connected you are, the more distracted you are. And the less you can get done.
There's zero doubt- Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and Wi-fi- they all serve us in various ways (even if just connecting to lost friends or allowing us to work out of the office).
The problem is that the more we connect to social media, the more obligated we feel to feed them, keep up with them, check in on short micro-breaks... and so completely derail any momentum we may have gained in getting things done. The same goes for both the benefits and the hazards of constant connection through cell phones and internet. Most of us no longer have an admin that safeguards us from phonecalls and other drop-in distractions.
It's up to us to set up our own safeguards.
Thus, the "personal firewall."
No- it's not always on. But when I need to get things done, I also need to recognize that checking my email, answering a phone call, dropping a twitter update may feel like a small distraction- but in reality, it's a derailment that it will take valuable time to recover from.
Here are some ideas or your personal firewall-
1. Email- If you haven't disabled the "ding", do so now. That thing is evil. A little sound that demands your attention, that grabs your consciousness, that expects you in true Pavlovian tradition to interrupt whatever you are doing for the latest FYI, forward from your friend with too much time or spam email. Just say no.
In fact, when you are working, consider turning off email completely. If you need think of an email you need to send, rather than interrupt what you are doing, just make a to-do for when you eventually do open up the email again for batch reading and writing. Why risk the distraction that will inevitably be lurking in your inbox just to get a message to someone 30 minutes sooner?
2. Internet- consider a second browser, one dedicated to fun, and one to work. Trying to get things done on a browser that has a LOT of fun stuff bookmarked on it is tough.
COnsider even switching off the wi-fi a few times a day. Think about how much time you lose every day to misc. surfing, reading news that won't matter tomorrow, following links that lead nowhere... save yourself the time by just shutting it down or working with a distraction-proofed browser.
3. Phone. Silent might be good enough- but "off" is even better. I know, I know- what if there's an emergency? I just want you to remember that 10 years ago, you probably didn't have a cell phone, and ten years ago you didn't spend every minute studying or working in a coffee shop or library in utter panic that your family would drive off a cliff and no one would be able to reach you.
It's okay to turn off your phone for an hour or two. And if you can't bring yourself to do that, at least switch off the ringer and refuse to answer for anyone but your spouse. Seriously- if it's an emergency, they'll call back.
No one will make your firewall for you. You can't buy one, have one installed and these days- you just can't get by without it.
Being connected is wonderful. Disconnecting occasionally is necessary.
Agree or disagree? Other ideas for your personal firewall?