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Communication Viruses: Which Is Your Infection? Email, Text, Phone or Social Media?

Under constant bombardment in the information overload 21st Century, Time Management comes down to literally becoming infected by one of these primary methods of communication: Email, Text, Phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

These are all rivers of information flow and each one can be deadly if allowed to flow unrestricted.

If all the forms are used, the exposure can be deadly.

Managing Time now is the #1 objective to balance in not just your business, but entire life. The pervasiveness and constant messaging that our information world wields demands new
strategies and tactics to survive.

These new survival skills are cross-generational, from Baby Boomers, to Gen Xers to Millennials.To be honest, the younger generations are even more infected by these communication viruses than the older ones. They are born and raised in this age of information and know no boundaries.

Boundaries are the vaccine to these viruses.

Boundaries between work and personal are a start to a cure but still rudimentary. Without having higher goals and objectives to measure and vet your need for communication against, boundaries are worthless.

This is where having true “outcomes” play a huge part in redefining what is acceptable communication form. The concept of “outcomes” work like this: Instead of defined tasks, have desired outcomes as your daily or weekly goals. When you prioritize your To Do List, not by Tasks but by Outcomes, you’re entire world can shift. It starts with redefining what is your acceptable form of communication for business.

The antidote to these viruses is choice.

To not just survive but thrive in the constant bombardment of messaging and demands on your time, you must choose. This begins and ends with choosing ONLY one specific method of communication. Okay, maybe two but not three or four.

For business, the best still is email, with phone a close second. If you want immediate relief to a communication infection, STOP ALL TEXTS related to business. Save that form of communication ONLY for friends and family. And, I mean personal friends, not business friends, colleagues, or associates.

Once you have chosen your preferred form, put auto-messaging on all other forms (i.e. phone or text) directing them to your preferred method. But here’s the true key: On the preferred method, still set boundaries.

Learn to “clock out.”

Here’s a concept that if you can take in, really get and learn, it will truly transform your world as it relates to time:

You will never get it all done.

So, stop trying. Have defined outcomes, not a To Do List that you’re constantly behind. It is that approach the makes you “feel” like you can never “clock out.”

The reality is you can.

I always loved the story that all of the aspects of your life are considered balls. Nearly all of them are rubber with only close relationship and health as glass balls. It is learning to allow the rubber balls to drop, to bounce that is the true lesson. Only the glass ball can’t be dropped. Let the other balls bounce. Nothing truly bad will happen. And, if you felt that those too couldn’t be dropped, then you have a “priority” and weighted task problem.

If you can learn to set manageable daily objectives and then learn to clock out, you’ll almost be there.

But these viruses are pervasive, relentless. You must combine that with boundaries. There’s a favorite phrase of mine that goes “you teach others how to treat you.” So, this directly goes to the heart of boundaries.

You must teach or re-educate everyone in your life, especially our business world, of your new boundaries. If you achieve that, you’ll be cured of these deadly viruses.

Who controls whether you’re remain infected or create a cure? You do.

No one is infecting you except yourself by allowing others to have you at their beckon call. So, stop it and you’ll gain back not just more time in your life, but a true sense of balance and relief in all aspects of your life.

Here’s a few Actionable suggestions that can bring you immediate relief from the poison:

1. Define what constitutes a successful day for you. That could be specific tasks, a general goal or something truly defined. Regardless, this will be your measuring stick to learn to clock out.

2. Pick a Preferred Communication Method. Then, STOP using the others for 30 days. If that is too much to ask, try 1 week. Or, even 1 day.

3. Stop the use of Text Messaging for ALL Business communication for 1 month, or at least 1 week.

4. Set Boundaries on your preferred communication method. Change your voicemail or email response telling them you’re only available between a set period of time. And, you’ll get back to them within another defined period of time (I like 24 or 48 hours for a response.) Learn to set the expectation of how quickly you’ll respond.

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Pat Mixon
Pat Mixon is a Time & Efficiency Expert and the founder of Executive Training Camp, the world’s premier place for 21st Century training, strategies, and systems that allow Manager, Executives, and Business Owners to take their game to the next level. Pat’s in the business of giving people BACK THEIR TIME. Pat writes about and helps individuals learn new systems and strategies around Time Management, Delegation, Email Management, To Do Lists, Meeting Management, Making Decisions, and Managing/Working Remotely and more. He is also managing partner at The Infrastructure Company. Visit his website at: ExecTrainingCamp.com and his firm’s consulting website for finance, accounting, operations and technology at TheInfrastructureCompany.com.
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