Control Your Technology…Don’t Let It Control You – Part 2 of 3 By Laura Stack MBA, CSP

laura-stack3Welcome to part 2 in a 3 part series of articles about how to make the best use of your technology. To view part 1 click here.

Ever sit down to look something up on the web and later look up at the clock, only to discover that you just spent three hours surfing in cyberspace? Mindlessly surfing the web not only wastes time, but also brings you lots of information that is of little use to you. Go to the web with a specific purpose in mind, focus on the task, and skip the rest.

Limit your use of the computer for entertainment purposes. Instead of playing a game that returns no measurable result, think of something “fun” but useful to do. I used to have a card box full of stained and mismatched recipes and magazine clippings. So I decided to type them up and save them as a “cookbook” to give to my family for the holidays. I created a numbered table of contents with different categories, just like a cookbook: appetizers, casseroles, main dishes, etc. I created a file folder named “Recipes” and created a separate document for each type of food. I put the printouts in plastic page protectors and filed them in a three-ring binder behind the appropriate tabbed section. It was a hit with my family, because I’d gathered all the old family favorites. Now any time a recipe is stained or I want to send a copy to a friend, I print it out. Or you can learn new software applications, put your budget on the computer, start a family website, or create digital photo albums.

Take control over your cell phone. When traveling, some people work on projects that require thought and creativity. Others like to listen to audio books or learning resources during their commute. If you carry a cell phone, you may not have any “unavailable” time. This is intrusive and leads to premature fatigue, resulting in more mistakes and rework. Cell phones can violate your privacy. Pleasurable activities such as lunch with a friend or a brisk walk quickly lose their pleasure if you’re required to be “on-call” at all times. The resulting feeling is that you have no control of your time, which increases your stress and lowers your effectiveness on and off the job.

Be selective to whom you give your cell phone numbers. The only person who has my cell phone number is my husband. I don’t have the number printed on my cards, and I don’t give it out to anyone. If a client needs to reach me urgently, John calls me with the request and phone number. Set limits on your cell phone usage so that it works for you. Negotiate appropriate boundaries and deadlines with others. If you find that you cannot live without your cell phone, know that you’re in trouble and take steps to be less reliant on it.

© 2009 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®.  She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

Drop in next week for part 3 of Control Your Technology…Don’t Let It Control You

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One thought on “Control Your Technology…Don’t Let It Control You – Part 2 of 3 By Laura Stack MBA, CSP

  1. I was very pleased with the comments about the use of cell phones. I too am very careful about who can “reach me anytime”. Many people are either offended by this or simply think I am crazy. I’m glad to see someone else agrees. Some of my most interesting thoughts (to me) come during the solitude of driving or just quiet times. There isn’t much quiet time when you are available to the world.

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