Discussion: Strategies to manage ICTs more actively?

There are numerous strategies to manage our ICTs more actively. What strategy can you recommend? Or recommend against?

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8 thoughts on “Discussion: Strategies to manage ICTs more actively?

  1. Ensuring that email is keep to a limited number of checks per day can help when longer tasks are needed to be completed to ensure focus is maintained. The timed delay function in email can be useful if you want to reply but delay sending this until the next day – useful for those of us who like to work in the evenings. It is important to find strategies that suit us as individuals and explore how these work for our family and friends too.

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  2. Agreed – constant interruptions are not helpful, we are all less good at multitasking then we like to think. Whilst we are missing good research on the following, it’s also important to limit screen time and handset time. And we do know having electronic devices by our bed side is bad for sleep quality, so ban the tablet from the bedroom. With my ‘fitness instructor hat on’, we also need to be mindful of muscular problems – being hunched over phones and laptops is really bad for our posture – and backache is one of the biggest health concerns in the UK. So use a full PC station when you can, a track ball mouse and also limit ‘screen and sit time’.

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  3. Completely agree that we should use options like “Delay delivery” more often so receivers of our e-mails do not get them until the next work day. You might think now: “But these e-mails are really urgent!” Are they though? Before you hit the “Send”-button, consciously think about which e-mails require sending straightaway and which ones could wait.
    Useful options with which you can take control over when you receive e-mails are the “Push Settings”. Most people have e-mails coming in 24/7 instantaneously, but e-mail apps usually offer options to restrict when e-mails are pulled from the server. Set up peak times in which you want (and need!) to have e-mails straightaway, but also allow for times when this does not happen automatically.

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  4. Yes, there is a lot of evidence that merely anticipating opening up our emails makes our heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels increase. Nonetheless, we are often unaware of this. Interrupting work by reading emails can be tempting, but the increased arousal every time we flip from task to task can make it difficult for us to get back on task – so we take longer to complete tasks and our performance may be impaired. Keeping the number of emails in our inbox low can be a useful strategy – moving emails into folders can lower stress and enhance wellbeing as it makes us feel more in control. Sending emails during evenings, weekends and holiday periods may help us feel on top of our work, but stop to think about the message you are giving to colleagues – particularly more junior staff to whom you may be seen as a role model for success.

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  5. I guess from my experience It is difficult to find a balance between dealing with emails at your preferred time, and being accessible to various stakeholders with whom you interact in your organisation. I think a useful way to deal with this issue is to openly discuss availability and email checking preferences with colleagues/students/customers so that the expectations are clear (of course, with some level of flexibility). I feel that within working environments where people is allowed to work in different patterns and work is highly collaborative, making our “unwritten rules” about email replies as explicit as possible can help minimize unmet expectations of colleagues and reassures us that the world can still work whilst we are offline! 🙂

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  6. The impact of technology use seems to be getting a lot of media attention at the moment. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32628753 that discusses how it can lead to distractions and loss of focus. Also some interesting research from Australia suggesting that academics don’t see reading and responding to emails as part of their “core” job role!

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  7. The link that Gail mentioned refers to Gloria’s Marks work. She has just released a synthesis lecture book: Multitasking in the Digital Age. Worth looking at: http://www.morganclaypool.com/doi/10.2200/S00635ED1V01Y201503HCI029

    Evidence for why it’s a good idea to only check email once a day:
    – Bradley, A; Brumby, D; Cox, AL; Bird, J; (2013) How to manage your inbox: Is a once a day strategy best? In: Proceedings of the 27th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2013). BCS Learning and Development Limited : London, UK.
    – Kushlev, K., & Dunn, E. W. (2015). Checking email less frequently reduces stress. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 220–228. – See more at: http://kushlev.psych.ubc.ca/publications#sthash.0TKYjFcC.dpuf

    Using delayed send on emails is a good idea but there’s no easy way (or at least not that i’ve found on outlook) to set that up for *all* emails as a default, unless you choose to work offline. The problem with that is that a) you can’t receive any messages whilst offline which you might want to do and b) you can’t sync calendars etc whilst offline. So, if you stay online then you have to set the delayed send for every message which is basically an extra faff that most people don’t have time to do.

    Another bbc article that came out last week on the same topic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32622224

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