Personal Productivity: 10 Ways to Destroy “Alarmageddon”

My work had been going along productively. I’d finally begun to get traction on an important project when suddenly and without warning, it all came to its inevitable, crashing end. Within a period of just a few seconds, my phone started to bleep, my computer echoed in its own irritating way and urgently flashed a brilliant reminder on its screen. My iPad, in a fit of jealousy, awakened to all of the ruckus and began to ring out its own disturbing cries for my attention.

It was alarmageddon!

It caught me totally by surprise and I was woefully unprepared. I think I heard a muffled scream as my productivity came to its untimely death, lying there on the floor in a pool of ravaged hopes and dreams.

You’ve been there, right? Thought so.

This kind of thing is just crazy. I discovered recently that I’d given away control of my life to these hideous little taskmasters, these electronic demons of distraction. My soul was now owned by electronic bloopers and bleepers that have neither heart nor mercy.

I had to get my life back…but how? Like a repentant smoker in a cigar lounge, I was surrounded by the sweet smell of electronic intoxication. Everyone I know, every contact I have, had been dragged from the light of productivity to the the dark and sinister side of E.D. (No, not THAT kind of E.D! E.D. as in “Electronic Distraction”)

How to escape? How to regain my soul? These were the questions that haunted me. And when I finally forced all of the dinging demons into sleep mode, it came to me. Salvation was to be found in reclaiming my life.

Here are 10 ideas that may help you to regain yours.

  1. Turn off alarms on all devices but your phone, because its always with you. When your devices are synced, other reminders become redundant
  2. Turn off email message alarms on your phone
  3. Set your devices to check emails much less frequently, say, once every two or three hours – or longer
  4. Pull yourself away from your electronics for a while every day. Use your head and a pencil and paper to create something new; don’t just autonomically respond to every call for your attention
  5. Voicemail is a waste of time. On your voicemail recording, ask callers to leave voicemail only if it is an urgent and lengthy message. After all, you’ve got caller I.D., and they’ve got text and emails. They’ll learn eventually
  6. Feeling the call of social media? Unless your job demands it, don’t spend time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of the others until you’ve finished your broccoli
  7. Ask who’s in charge of your time. If it’s you, act like it. If not, you’ve just given away the control of YOUR time to the typing, tapping and random texts and messages of other people. If you can’t be the boss of the company, at least be the boss of you
  8. Leave your office. go somewhere else
  9. Prioritize the best use of your time: make it a habit to ask yourself if your current activity meets the criteria or not
  10. Finally and most important, implement one of the previous nine or figure out something that works for you. Unless you act, alarmageddon will seek you out and suck up your soul. While your eyes are open! Ack!