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The Crackberry: A Corporate Noose or Time Leveraging Tool

The Crackberry: A Corporate Noose or Time Leveraging Tool
Blackberry

    For better or for worse the Crackberry is here to stay. Once only reserved for techies, the Crackberry is now a mainstay in the corporate environment, allowing professionals to quickly access information and communicate with others on the go. They’ve become extremely popular among sales people, techies, lawyers, accountants and political assistants. Some CEOs use them but the people who are the most productive don’t seem to have them.

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    Originally touted as a personal productivity machine, the Crackberry is quickly becoming a time trap and the corporate drug of choice. If you have one, think about how many times you check your Crackberry in a day. Once, twice, or hundreds of times a day? Try counting. A lot of managers like to get their staff onto them so they can more easily intrude on their personal lives.

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    Employers, co-workers and clients expect more access to your personal time and expect emails responses in minutes and not hours. To compound this problem, with many features and software add-ons, there is a tendency to spend excessive time doing non-productive activities like playing cards on the Crackberry. In the end, this leaves you with less time to meet your deadlines and spend with your family or friends.

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    Here are 10 ways you can turn your Crackberry from a corporate noose to a time leveraging tool.

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    • Load only applications that you need.
    • Turn off your Crackberry when you are in meetings.
    • Turn off your Crackberry when you are working on a file or project.
    • Allow only important clients and co-workers to have access to your Crackberry email.
    • Budget non-work time to play with your Crackberry.
    • Stop walking and typing at the same time.
    • Turn off your Crackberry during downtime.
    • Save those long emails for the office.
    • Set a Crackberry use policy and stick to it.
    • Start a Crackberries Anonymous group.

    In other words, find a way not to check your Crackberry every second. If you can manage to do this, you are on your way to recovery. If you come across any other suggestions, please add them in the comment section below. If not handled right, these things can become so unproductive, it is not funny.

    Tatsuya Nakagawa is president and CEO of Atomica Creative Group Ltd., a strategic product marketing company based in Vancouver Canada. He has assisted numerous companies in diverse industries with their early stage deployments and product launches in North America, Europe and Asia. He ditched his Crackberry in January after having been on it for a year. Peter Paul Roosen has an engineering background and founded numerous companies including firms involved in locomotive and plastics manufacturing, computer software and marketing. He never got a Crackberry and still uses an old school notebook for organizing stuff.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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