My New Rules for Communication

Technology and social media tools have opened up an immense door of opportunity.  It has made connecting with old friends, our clients, and people in the community extremely easy.  We can make new acquaintances without ever leaving the office or conduct business globally from anyplace at anytime.  And we can find important information with a click of the button.


I love this ability but I also hate it.

As great as these tools are they can quickly become an addiction and distraction.  How many of us check Twitter and e-mail before we go to bed and the first thing when we wake up?  How many times do we lose progress on a project because of a new tweet or FaceBook request?  As helpful and cool as social media and software is, I am quite overwhelmed by it and it has become a problem – and think it’s time for me to get this under control.


Effective immediately I am implementing these new rules and guidelines to get back to productivity and balance:

  • Twitter: Reducing the numbers. I really appreciate the people who follow me, but to be honest, I can’t keep up with the 243 people I follow right now.  Most tweets are skimmed and I feel that if I am going to keep up with someone, I really want to know what’s going on.  Maybe the solution is the list feature, but just think large communities are difficult to keep in tune with.
  • Twitter: Reducing my time using it. I’m turning off TweetDeck or Echofon.  I have to!  Twitter is killing my focus and productivity because it’s spontaneous.  So I am going to limit my time on it to 3 times per day at specific times – morning, lunch, evening.
  • iChat:  By request or once per day.  Being on chat and available is a big time suck and productivity killer.  I love visiting with my peeps but they will only catch me online at lunch now.  If its important shoot me an e-mail or text message to request chat.
  • E-mail:  Check two times per day.  My preferred way of communication is e-mail.  It’s easy to track and segment into folders.  Regardless, I will check my e-mail in the morning and before the end of my work day, only spending a total of an hour doing so.
  • Phone Calls: Out of everything else I would rather talk by phone.  It’s more personable and you can read people better than written communication.  My plan is to schedule calls more frequently but more effectively.
  • Blogging:  I am going to block out time to write a majority of my thoughts and posts.  Or to create videos.  My hope is developing better content but yet still be flexible enough to publish my ideas as they come to me.
  • Response Time:  Don’t you hate it when someone finally responds to you after a week goes by?  Me too!  However I now understand there may be reasons for this – so please don’t take it personally if I don’t get back within 24 hours.  I’ll always do my best but no promises.
Please know that these guidelines are not being applied because of any person but rather my need to be in the zone to rock out valuable, artistic work and for being fully present with my family when I am not working.  These rules are for my benefit …and in some ways yours as well.

2 Comments

  1. Dr. Baines on February 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I like the boundaries that you are setting. As a full time Pastor and a content website owner, I find myself with similar challenges. Thanks again.

  2. James Dalman on February 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Dr. Baines,

    Thank you. It’s definitely not easy but required to keep myself in the zone. It’s also amazing how little distractions can add up!

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