Drawing the line between the ease of access to technology and not switching off is becoming ever more difficult, resulting in many slipping into the always-on culture. So how do you digitally declutter?
Technology is a powerful tool when we control it, rather than the other way round. However it can also be a source of procrastination, mental drain, bad night’s sleep, distraction and the list goes on.
As we enter the digital age of accountancy, make sure you are taking the steps you need to ensure you are still in control of your working day.
The first way to switch off is to declutter your digital life. One of my favourite productivity books 'Eat that Frog' by Brian Tracy once highlighted how overwhelming our emails can seem. However, not all of them require our attention.
Firstly, unsubscribe from all marketing emails which are of no interest to you. This may take a while, but it makes a huge difference to the size and importance of your inbox.
This could be something you delegate to a secretary or virtual assistant. If you have too many marketing emails to sieve through, delete every marketing email currently in your inbox, and when they come through again manage them individually and unsubscribe when they arrive.
Secondly, allow windows in your day where you are not checking your emails. I currently have two windows per day where I check emails. This is between 1pm and 3pm and then after 6pm.
I have an instant reply which goes out when a client emails to let them know that we check emails twice a day, so they know when they will hear back from us. This gives both myself and our clients peace of mind and control over email management and maintaining client expectation.
Easier said than done?
It is very easy to say “allow two windows a day”. However, how do you resist checking your phone when it goes off to notify you of activity on an app or email?
A client of mine recently said one of her best productivity hacks is to turn off all notifications on her mobile phone. I followed suit instantly. My working day changed immediately, I was no longer being distracted by emails, texts or messages from clients, or marketing.
This means you can work distraction-free. Then when you do have the time to check your emails, texts, WhatsApp or social media you can, and it has been your choice and under your control.
Try to have two phones: one for work, one for personal. So when you are out with family or friends, you are not distracted by work.
These steps have really helped my productivity as I am active on social media channels and the notifications received on there are particularly unimportant during working hours but very distracting.