After HoursMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
With advancement in technology and ever growing increase in the use of mobile devices, professionals are quite used to checking and responding to the emails on-the-go. Everything has its price and so does the advancements in technology. As the mobile devices provide flexibility of access 24×7 to the users, it means that they will be gradually moving to a mindset where they are working round the clock.
A very common sight these days is a person waking up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom or have a glass of water and before he/she goes back to sleep, he/she checks emails and even responds to some of them as well. Just imagine what state of the mind which was actually resting a while ago and then suddenly is made to get into a totally different mood. Certainly the mind cannot immediately go back to the same resting state that quickly. Feedback from some medical experts suggests the same in this article; “What Happens To Your Brain When You Check Your Phone In The Middle Of The Night”
Human mind is very complex, once you reply to an email, your work may have been done but your mind remains engaged subconsciously. You might be engaged in something else but that email will still be processed in your mind. With all these mobile devices, we have gradually got a stage where the technology has started to consume us. I am always amazed to see a single person carrying 2 or 3 sets of mobile phones at a time but ironically, when you try to connect, they don’t attend the call and don’t even try to respond back later.
Organizations and Nations around the world are gradually realizing this issue and are taking measures by drawing some lines to cater it. For example, in some countries, it is now considered illegal to call or email someone for any official work after regular office hours. I think it is time that the same psychology should be adopted in regular life as well. Simply let people know that you will be available to connect for a certain time slot during the day. What this will do is that once people know that they can connect during a specific time frame with you, they will adjust to this habit and will contact you only during that time.
Similarly, managers are now being introduced to the concept of designating time, out of their daily routine, to respond to emails and calls. They are also being trained to completely go “offline” for some hours (during off hours) where they don’t have to reach for their mobiles to respond to any messages. They are trained to completely keep themselves away from their mobiles which also includes indulging in any socializing etc. because using a mobile phone itself is not deemed too healthy for long hours.
So, let’s start by having a day with 8 hours of office work and then getting back home to spend quality time with family and putting your phones on silent during family time. You will yourself start to feel the difference and then can gradually develop this into a habit.