Technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The two technologies I’ve managed to turn back into friendly allies are email and Twitter. Until recently I had my email and Twitter open all day. As a result I was being interrupted (and quite frankly would interrupt myself) checking email and Twitter and posting messages. My productivity was going down the toilet.
I think it’s useful to have an analogy to explain how to use a technology. I think of Twitter as like my virtual tea room or cafe. It’s the place I go to hear the chatter about what’s happening. I will tend to sit down with some friends (using Tweetdeck) while also looking forward to meeting someone new. I’ll share some ideas and resources and ask people for their help, experiences and opinions.
The problem was that I was in cafe (socializing) mode all day long when I should have enjoyed this social space like I use to when I worked in an organisation, at 10.30am and 3.30pm.
So my new regime has been to only participate in Twitter at 10.30 and 3.30 (for about 30 minutes at a time) and in times when I’ve decided I’m going to just have some fun (evenings, weekends). This doesn’t mean that I’m going full pelt at Twitter in each session. It just means I have a read and participate during these times.
And the same rule applies to email with one variation. I’ll send emails and read emails throughout the day as part of getting things done, but I wont retrieve new emails except at 10.30 and 3.30.
As a result of this new approach to productivity I spend more time in my task manager (OmniFocus) picking off the next task and knocking it off.