How to take a tech timeout: And you thought parental controls were just for children.

Posted on 08-29-2014 by
Tags: career balance , Trending News & Topics , time management , career , productivity , work-life balance

The last weekend of summer is upon us. If you are anything like me, 2 questions are floating through your mind right now:

  1. Doesn’t it feel like Memorial Day weekend just occurred?
  2. What did I do with my time during the best months of the year?

 My answer to the latter question: I took a “theoretical” vacation where I worked more than half of my vacation time while in another location. Rather than recharging, I caught up and now I am left to think “why did I do that?”

 What to do?

Thankfully, I stumbled across a recent WSJ article about taking a tech timeout by using existing functionality to limit your use. This article doesn’t demand the usual “working during vacation is bad because…” scenario. What I found most compelling is the reminder that my devices have built-in features and functions that can help remind me that I am working, when I shouldn’t be. So, I gave these tips a whirl one night, and I was pleased with my results.

Tip #1: Set Up Timers or Parental Control Apps

I turned to my parental-control app, and allowed myself 1 hour to do whatever it was I needed to do, but I only had 1 hour. The result: Seeing a countdown in the top right corner of my screen pressured me to only focus on what was really important. Too many times, I turn on my computer to answer just 1 email, or work on 1 slide of a powerpoint deck, and 3-hours later, I really didn’t do anything (or so it feels).

Tip #2: Disable Notifications and Hide Tempting Apps

I turned off my work email notification, and the “fear of missing out” entirely left me. It was an AWESOME feeling! I was able to focus on what I needed/wanted to do for that 1 hour – which was still clicking down the seconds.

Tip #3: Bring Back Paperbacks and Clock Radios

I wasn’t able to really engage with this tip since I my focus was to limit my time online during the week. I will take this into account when I head out on another vacation by inactivating my work email from my Kindle, iPad and iPhone. (Why do I need to email on so many devices?)

My learning lesson: Setting up parental controls definitely helped me better prioritize my work queue during off hours. Also, I now have more of an appreciation for what those Jeopardy contestants are going through with the ever-present, countdown timer showing each passing minute.

For anyone else out there, do you have any tips to share with the group?


Posted on : 10 Jun 2015 11:19 AM

The most important thing to remember while parenting is to make sure to give full attention to the family while with them. When out on a vacation or even an weekend, make sure the phone is away so as to have least amount to no distractions at all.

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