I find myself checking email, Facebook, and websites at stoplights during the few seconds to a minute it takes for the light to change. The need to be connected at all times has crept up as a large priority for most of us. Inc.com writer Eliza Browning tells us “(i)t’s hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.”
Many states have outlawed texting while driving, and some have even required a hands-free device while talking on the phone in your car. If you know that you’re not supposed to touch your phone when you’re behind the wheel, why is the impulse so great?
What about when you are not in the car? Do you give others around you the face time they deserve? Browning shares “(w)hen I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers—and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn’t make her any less of a success.” I have been in a multitude of meetings where participants barely looked up from their smart phones. They occasionally nodded, or made a noise that could have been an “uh-huh” or maybe they were just clearing their throat. On the receiving end of this behavior, I have felt that these meetings are a complete waste of time – not only to me, but to the absorbed user of the mobile device as well.
To truly be efficient, productive and successful, give others some good face time. Use eye contact, provide insightful and timely feedback, and participate on a level that you and they deserve. If you find that you can’t pull away from those electronic distractions to fully attend a meeting, then don’t go.