Advertising
Advertising

Blackberry Slavery

Blackberry Slavery

Blackberry Slavery

    A participant in one of my time management workshops recently shared that her corporate culture has evolved to the point where a manager who owns a Blackberry is expected to respond to email within the hour.

    In a few of those instances in which she took too long to respond, the results was an email to her boss’s boss with a complaint.

    This made me wonder… What happens when an employee receives the “gift” of a Blackberry or iPhone from their company?

    Advertising

    What unpoken expectations are delivered along with the smartphone?

    What is the human resource department doing to create policies to prevent the worst from happening — executives sending messages back and forth at 5 am, or 20 hour games of “email ping-pong.”

    One enlightened company I am aware of actually has had a long-standing policy that their managers cannot send or read email of phone calls on their designated days off.

    Advertising

    Dragging

      Most companies, however, are stampeding in the opposite direction, invading what used to be their employees private moments with a “play or else mentality.” Nights, mornings, weekends, holidays and vacations are now fair game in an increasing number of companies, and the recession has only given companies a fresh reason to turn up the pressure on the lucky survivors of the most recent layoff.

      Of course, neither RIM nor Apple is to blame.

      Instead, bad habits are becoming enshrined into company practice, and the result is a drop in productivity.

      Sending an email entitled “URGENT” has turned into the new way of delivering urgent messages, replacing the telephone.

      Advertising

      The results are simply disastrous, as professionals chain themselves to their smartphones, checking and re-checking their email, just in case they received an urgent email in the last five minutes.

      That’s a LOT of checking for a 1 in 500 event.

      That’s also a LOT of wasted attention.

      By now, we probably have all been subject to “email attention,” which differs from the regular attention that one receives in a normal in-person, or phone conversation.

      Advertising

      We start out talking with a colleague and the conversation goes well until we detect that they have made the switch to checking their device to see if they have received any urgent email.

      Their responses become just a little delayed, and we can sense that something has shifted as they join the latest game of email ping-pong happening somewhere in cyber-space. Whether they are standing in front of us, or 3000 miles away, the effect is the same — the conversation slows down as they hit reply, start typing and hit send, even as they insist they are “still listening” when challenged.

      Unfortunately, it’s fear that’s driving them to unproductive and ineffective habits.

      This is what some of their spouses, kids, friends and colleagues are seeing when they react with a shake of the head, and words like “addicted” and “Crackberry” are muttered just outside earshot.

      A few have seen the light and are returning, losing, and even breaking their companies’ Blackberry’s and iPhones.

      Even fewer are confronting the culture of fear and intimidation that has subtly being created with the aid of this new technology. It takes courage to say no to bad habits, no matter how wide-spread they are. It takes a clear mind to say yes to a higher productivity that is waiting for companies that can see the trap clearly, and are willing to set new policies to address them.

      More by this author

      Francis Wade

      Author, Management Consultant

      How To Manage A Post-College Productivity Dip Why You Need to Understand and Accept Your Productive Type A Tendencies The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It The New LifeHacking #6 – Staying Away from Harmful Gadgets The New Lifehacking #5 – Tricking Yourself into Making the Changes You Need

      Trending in Work

      1 8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months 2 5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You) 3 15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful 4 17 Best Careers Worth Going Back to School for at 40 5 Top 10 Ways to Lead More Effectively with Humor

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on June 19, 2019

      8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

      8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

      Everyone has the ability to learn a life-changing skill not just this year, but in the next 6 months.

      By life-changing, I mean something that can have a positive impact in your life moving forward, even if it’s something you can’t envision today. Certain skills we can immediately reap the benefits of, while others will be life-changing when we least expect it.

      In this article, we’ll share 8 life-changing skills you can learn in 6 months, where you can learn them, and how you can get started today.

      1. Speed reading

      Bill Gates has been known to state that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. What Bill and the rest of the mega-successful understand is that knowledge is power. The ability to process information faster from books, articles, and reports is what will help us learn faster, and therefore improve each aspect of our life faster as well.

      Where you can start learning: Speed reading courses are becoming more popular, as more people realize how important it is with the limited time we have. You can check out free courses like Read Speeder or you can start learning how to use Spritzlet, which allows you to speed read articles online with a browser extension.

      2. Public speaking

      Research shows that people fear public speaking more than death itself. There’s something terrifying about being in front of dozens or hundreds of people, and exposing yourself completely. It’s when you’re most vulnerable, but learning how to public speak is a life-changer.

      Advertising

      Warren Buffett has given advice to recent graduates that the number one skill you can have to succeed is public speaking skills. Everything from communication, confidence, and sales is developed when you develop your public speaking skills.

      Where you can start learning: Luckily, there are great communities out there like Toastmasters that organize local meetups all around the world. You’ll find amazing public speakers that are looking to get to the next level to beginners that are just getting started. Check out Toastmasters’ website here.

      3. Spanish

      As the third most spoken language in the world, the ability to speak Spanish will allow you to reach over 500M people around the world. No matter where you live, knowing how to speak Spanish is becoming increasingly more important, with the Hispanic population and economy spreading quickly worldwide. If you’re living in the US, this is even more important, with over 30% of the population being Hispanic.

      Spanish is also on this list, because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Sure, Mandarin is an important language to learn, but it’s an incredibly difficult one to learn. If we were to measure the level of importance and the time to learn for all the languages available, Spanish would make it to the top of the list.

      One of the biggest reasons why people never reach fluency in any foreign language is: using the wrong method, and lack of time.

      It turns out that humans retain only 5% of what we learn from lectures, 20% of what we learn from apps (visual cues), and 90% of what we learn from immediate immersion. Yet, how do 90% of learn a new foreign language? Language schools (lectures), books, Duolingo (apps), etc that don’t provide the real-life immersion required for our brains to learn faster.

      Advertising

      Where to get started: If you want the most effective way to learn a language, learning from real-life interactions is the best way to do it. There are great websites like Rype, which offers Spanish coaching for busy people, solving the issue of lack of time and bringing real-life immersion to your screen. With Rype, you can book as many lessons as you want, at any time of the day, any day of the week, allowing you to fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

      4. Accounting

      If you’re looking to get into business, accounting is one of the core fundamentals you’ll need to succeed. While you don’t need to be an expert, you definitely should understand the basics.

      This skill can also be used to manage your personal finances, to meet your financial goals, and having more control over your life.

      Where to get started learning: If you didn’t learn accounting in school, no worries. You can either teach yourself using books, or check out free accounting courses online.

      5. Microsoft Excel

      Most people reading this probably have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. While this is a good start, there are so many powerful functionalities that are hidden, which could make your life a lot easier.

      Excel is also a great asset to have whenever you’re looking for a job, as many corporations rely on Excel to organize and manage multiple parts of the business.

      Advertising

      Where to get started learning: With the popularity of Excel, you can find tons of free resources and videos online to learn. Check out Excel Exposure, Lynda, and Excel with Business.

      6. Blogging/Vlogging

      Blogging is a powerful tool if you want to spread your ideas, build your brand, or grow your business. Since it was introduced, blogging has taken on a life of its own, and today there are ~2M blog posts being written on a daily basis.

      Where to get started learning: Anyone can start blogging today. All you need is a content-management system like WordPress, which is completely free. Personally, I think the best way to start learning how to blog is to just start writing. There are techniques you can learn on how to promote your blog, but the best way to grow your blog is to write great content.

      7. Weight training

      Yes, weight training is a skill. It’s not as advanced as learning how to code, nor will it take as long as learning a new language, if you just want to learn the basics.

      We’re not promising that you’ll get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will see much faster results for whatever goal you have, just by understanding how to workout properly. And of course, when you’re dealing with an activity that involves physical strain, you’ll always want to caution yourself.

      Where to get started learning: There are amazing body builders that are sharing all of their secrets for free on Youtube. You can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Youtube channel to get started.

      Advertising

      8. Photo and video editing

      In the digital world that we live in, from Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, there is no avoiding photos and videos. In fact, social media has increasingly gone away from text sharing and almost everything to photo and video editing.

      Where to get started learning: For photo editing, you can use Photoshop. For video editing, you can use iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind, there are dozens of editing software tools for video and photo editing, but what’s more important are your editing skills, not the tool itself.

      Check out education websites like CreativeLIVE or Skillshare, where you can learn from experts themselves on how to best use design and software tools.

      photoshop_3d_lights1

        Read Next