Tame The Beast

Man going crazy on phones.

I’m guessing you have a smartphone. In fact you are probably reading this article on said smartphone. Isn’t the technology that you hold in your hand nearly miraculous? In the last three years the lovely Dizzy D and I have traveled to Europe twice. We went to countries we had never traveled to and where we didn’t speak the local language. Because of my iPhone (I’m not an Android infidel) the trips were almost flawless. We visited Italy for 22 days and spent 10 days in Portugal and Spain. I used my iPhone to Yelp restaurants, get directions, and communicate with my two daughters: one in Orlando and one in Phoenix.

Dirty Little Secret: Your Convenience

Your smartphone is for your convenience.

  • Not your customers
  • Not your employees
  • Not your spouse’s — Well maybe, if you are like me, your spouse expects you to answer their call.

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

You are addicted you your phone. Deny it if you wish but the average American checks their smartphone between 35 and 74 times per day… And because you are in sales, I’m guessing you are above the norm. The very device we are counting on to help us, is killing our productivity.

Increase Your Productivity – Avoid Interruptions

If you’re serious about increasing your productivity you must get control over your smartphone interruptions for the following 3 reasons:

  1. Allowing interruptions is a time and productivity killer.
    • Top time-and-motion scientists tout that any time you are interrupted from a project, you waste approximately 20 minutes. – Does that seem a little extreme to you? You’re probably thinking, Tim, are you telling me that just by responding to a text or email, taking a call, or updating my FB page, I am wasting 20 minutes? I’m not saying it. The University of Michigan has lead some of the most in-depth time and motion studies and these are their findings. Findings they use by the way to help the Detroit automakers become more efficient.
  2. Allowing interruptions leads to a waste of time. Most situations can be resolved without your immediate involvement.
    • If you are a heart surgeon, firefighter, or EMT, you should probably stay VERY connected and available. As for the rest of us, no one’s life is typically hanging in the balance of us answering our phone.
    • I’ve been leading sales teams for 21 years. I’ve found that if I give my people a few hours before responding, they have almost always figured out how to handle the very situation they were calling me about.
  3. Allowing interruptions disempowers the teams you lead and your customers.
    • Is your goal dependant customers and team members or would you prefer them to be self-sufficient?
      • I think most of us would agree that we want to work with self-sufficient customers and team members.
      • By answering every text, email, and phone call immediately, it is actually disempowering. You become their sole source of information.
      • In my 21 years of leadership, I have been witness to countless managers who stifle their team’s growth by being too accessible.

Get Ahold Of Yourself Man!

If you don’t get control over the very device that is nearly miraculous, your smartphone, and remember it is there for YOUR convenience, it will destroy your productivity. So how do you change the way you interact with your phone? Each of will take a different approach. My personal solution is that I only respond to texts, email, and voice mails twice per day. Once at 10am and again at 4:00pm. Unless it’s from my wife, and then I answer immediately. Hey I want to be productive, but I also want to stay married!

What are you going to do to tame the beast that our smartphones have turned into? Is it even reasonable to limit your instantaneous availability to calls, texts and emails? Leave a comment below. If you are reading this in your email inbox CLICK HERE to leave a comment.

Tim Martin

Tim Martin

Tim has spent the last 22 years in the VB sales world. During that time he has recruited and trained over 2,000 agents to get people to do what they should, but wouldn't do if we didn't come along. In addition to his leadership rolls at the two largest VB carriers on the planet, Tim has worked with outside organizations through consulting and sales coaching. His energetic and humorous key note addresses have also inspired and electrified audiences throughout the United States. Currently Tim is also working on his first book "Success Is Voluntary." Tim and the lovely Dizzy D reside in Peoria, Arizona. They have been married for 30 years and are the proud parent of two gorgeous grown young women, Brittny 29 and Victoria 26.

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