It’s so easy! It’s all done automatically, instantly! But have you ever stopped to think that maybe some of these modern-day conveniences are starting to become an inconvenience? At what point does ease-of-use become a hassle?
Organize Anything takes a look at seven things that make your life easier, but can add time and complications in the long run.
1. Not so Smart Phones. A smart phone allows you to have all the info you need for your daily life at the touch of an icon. But constantly checking or being alerted of news, sports scores, and new messages can distract you from getting real world stuff done. Limit yourself to the number of times you check these types of things each day. For example, once when you wake up and once after work.
2. Instant message gratification. Have you ever had a text message or email conversation with someone and realize halfway through it would have been much simpler to just call the person, the “old fashioned” way! Texting and messaging are becoming more and more common as a primary form of communication. But before you write, think, “Can I communicate more clearly and quickly by phone?” Learn how to communicate succinctly and end phone conversations in a polite manner. You can text with your eyes closed; now how about mastering the art of the telephone call and a concise voicemail message?
3. RSS Feeds. Getting feeds from your favorite sites saves time loading bookmarks page by page. But what if you don’t check your subscriptions every day? Many sites update daily meaning you can end up with hundreds of posts to read if you miss a few days. Skimming through these, even just to mark them as read takes time. Limit the number of sites you subscribe to, especially those that update frequently. Try to limit yourself to the best one or two sites on a given topic, whether for work or for pleasure.
4. Social Media. Connecting with friends and business contacts through Facebook, Twitter and other sites is convenient and engaging. However, there are a lot of opportunities to waste time browsing through your newsfeed, checking in on friends or making small talk. Set specific times that you check your social media sites. Set your status to offline or away when you are working on something else. Splitting your attention between two tasks kills productivity. Even if you “welcome the distraction” it’s not helping you move on to more pleasing tasks by prolonging the job at hand.
5. ATMs. We have become accustomed to heading straight for the ATM when we go to the bank. If we can avoid going to the teller, we do. Because of this shift, bank lines are much shorter. Next time peek in the door to see if there is a free teller. Tellers can complete several transactions quickly as opposed to answering a bunch of yes or no questions to complete a second transaction. Also, you can ask questions you might have while the teller completes the transaction. This will save you time waiting on the telephone to speak to a customer service representative. Tellers are also able to recommend products and services that might save you time or money. Can the ATM do that?
6. Credit Cards.No one likes paying bills. Why add to the number of statements you receive and bills you have to pay? Aside from the financial benefit of spending only the money you have, getting rid of some or all of your credit cards limits the reasons for your bank to call you. Everyone can appreciate the value of less time on the phone with telemarketers. Consider switching to a debit card with a credit card logo. You can use these cards for online purchases and when traveling.
7. Point Cards. How many point and membership cards do you have in your wallet right now? How many of these are for stores that you have not visited in the past 6 months? How many only have one stamp on them? It’s time to reevaluate what gets real estate in your wallet. Think about how long it would actually take you to reach the reward. Is the value of the reward high enough to warrant the card living in your wallet for the next 6 months? Limit yourself to those stores you visit frequently and those with rewards that are obtainable and of high value to you.
Next time you think about signing up for a rewards card, or downloading an app to “make things easier” think about the long term implications. Is it something you really need, or will it just clog up your wallet and distract you down the road?
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© 2007 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Phone: (902) 233-1577
Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.