While most of my clients use a Blackberry or some other form of smart phone, there are a few hold outs that express concern over their cell phone becoming a leash. These folks are worried that if they have a mobile device that receives email, their clients will expect immediate answers to emails at all times. If you fall in this camp, read on to find out how your smart phone should be a liberating device, not a ball and chain!
Ever been in a situation where you are expecting an email to come in at any time that you know requires an immediate response? When was the last time you chose not to take off early on a Friday or to go to a networking luncheon because you felt compelled to wait for that email or phone call from a client? Folks, this situation is precisely what smart phones are meant to prevent. If you know that you can go wherever you want and that email or phone call will come to you, then you are free from your office and can now multi-task much more effectively.
However, all too often many of us take it too far and feel compelled to answer every email that flashes across our mobile Inbox (they’re called Crackberries for a reason). Now your Crackberry has become a leash because you feel compelled to stop what you are doing no matter where you are (often on a weekend or evening during “family” time) and answer that email. And worse yet, you feel this action is expected by your clients and colleagues because they know you have a smart phone and can see their email.
There is a very simple solution for the Crackberry blues and it is called discipline. If clients and colleagues have come to expect immediate answers to non critical emails and phone calls it is because you have trained them to do so. All you have to do to resolve this situation is stop answering those non critical emails and phone calls and the problem will go away. Yes, you might get the occasional question about why you didn’t pick up the phone or answer an email, but all you have to do is remind the questioner that you are not always available to respond – especially during off hours. Believe it or not it is that simple!
So go on and get that cool new iphone or Blackberry Storm – just remember that a little self discipline will set you free!