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Entrepreneur Relationships With Technology Can Damage Productivity And Personal Lives

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 1/22/2012

Business expert says that small changes in the use of common technologies can make entrepreneurs more productive and sane.

If you're tired of being connected to work 24/7, at least one recognized business expert feels your pain.

Entrepreneurs and Technology

According to Jason Womack, a workplace performance expert, executive coach, and author of the new book Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More, many small business professionals don't feel like they accomplished enough by the end of the day, so they respond to work (emails via their smartphones) right up until their head hits the pillow.

But the good news, says Womack, is that by implementing a few small changes, you can get more done in less time -- fending away burnout and creating more time for doing the things you truly love.

"It's not about how hard you're working," adds Womack. "There are plenty of very hardworking people who aren't as productive as they could be because of the way they manage their day."

Womack offers several tips for entrepreneurs interested in creating a more rational relationship with common business technologies:

  • Be prepared for "bonus time." While waiting for a meeting to start or for a delayed flight to depart, you can take advantage of "bonus time" to reply to an e-mail or make a phone call. You might even have enough time to review materials for another meeting or project, confirm appointments, draft responses, or map out a project outline. "I can promise you that sometime during the next month, someone is going to arrive late for a meeting with you, cancel a meeting, or otherwise keep you waiting," says Womack. "When that inevitably happens, you can look over your to-do list and pick something--anything--to work on."
  • Change how you manage e-mail. Stress goes through the roof when entrepreneurs check their inboxes. Faced with a blinding array of names and subject lines, all most entrepreneurs can think about are the latest projects, the loudest issues and the highest priority work in the inbox. To improve the way you manage email, Womack suggests not checking email until you have a block of time during which you can respond, prioritize and manage your digital messages -- effectively dealing with the stress your emails create.
  • Identify the verbs that need attention. Organize your to-do list by verbs as a way to better manage your productivity -- the "smaller" the better. For example, action verbs like call, draft, review, and invite are things that you can do, generally in one sitting, that can move projects forward one step at a time. More demanding verbs like plan, discuss, create, or implement should be replaced with smaller action verbs describing tasks that are easier to start and faster to finish. This will save you time and reduce the sense of overload you're feeling.

"We all want to enjoy what we do every day," says Womack. "We want to get better and better, both on the job and off, and yet, many people are too overwhelmed to make the key changes that will help them do so. There is no reason to remain mired in frustration and struggling to catch up. With just a few key changes, you can work in a way that feels really good--and spend your after-work life doing things that feel even better."

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