Excitement tends to build in the marketplace whenever a new technological device surfaces. But as more devices materialize and continue to connect us in different ways, the initial enthusiasm for many entrepreneurs who use them is gradually turning sour.
In an informal survey, a majority of the nearly 50 entrepreneurs polled by BusinessNewsDaily admitted they sometimes feel overwhelmed by the abundance of technology in their lives.
“Because technology has made it so easy to stay connected to business, family and time-consuming nonsense, hours can go by without any real accomplishments. Staying focused gets more and more challenging,” said Lorraine Pierce, CEO of cosmetics company L.A. Minerals.
Pierce and several others, however, have discovered ways to alleviate their “digital overload.” For relief, Pierce swims to disconnect.
“As far as I know, my phone and iPad aren’t waterproof … for now,” she said.
[The scientific approach to the problem: Digital Overload: Is Your Computer Frying Your Brain?]
Business coach Shawn Brodof of Clarity Coaching isn’t surprised many entrepreneurs feel consumed.
“Think back 10, 20, 30 years ago," he said. "We had none or few of the electronic toys that are such an integral part of our everyday lives now. You could argue that we are much more productive, but we have incredible demands on our time as we fit more and more into the 24 hours we have each day."
[See how too much technology affects kids. You might be surprised.]
Seven entrepreneurs shared their stories of how they remedy their occasional feelings of technology overconsumption:
Get active: Derrick Guest, CEO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services, developed anxiety from using so much technology all of the time, which affected his sleeping patterns because “I couldn't turn my brain off at night.” Similar to Pierce, Guest exercises to remedy his problem. “What I do to keep myself sane is to meditate and go to the gym. I leave my devices in my locker when I'm in the gym.” He and his wife sometimes also shut off their devices when they seek time for themselves. “At least an hour a day can do wonders.”
Disconnect: Jason Ross, founder of JackThreads, sets aside periods of his day where he doesn’t answer work-related inquiries or e-mails. He also makes sure to put his phone away during important events for friends and family.” You need time during the day to organize your thoughts – not digitally, but in your own mind free of digital distractions,” he said.
Ask for help: Jason O’Neill, 14-year-old owner of Pencil Bugs, a company that sells handmade pencil toppers, said avoiding “digital overload” begins with delegating responsibilities. O’Neill has his mom handle some components of his business that deal with electronics. And even though he’s growing up during the digital generation, he says the best thing people can do is to realize “humans do not need every device going at the same time.”
Relocate: Elizabeth Hardig, owner of Virtual Visibility, often juggles 10 projects and a handful of clients each day. “I was overwhelmed, distracted, inefficient and simply slow on completing tasks,” she said. “When you are on a deadline to get a task done, physically move locations. You would be surprised how much you can focus when you don’t have the normal office distractions. Go to a coffee shop, the library or even an empty conference room down the hall. A change of scenery can make a huge difference in productivity, because you only have one thing to focus on: your work.”
Encourage cooperation: Lloyd Princeton, president of Design Management Company, asks people to call him – even on his cell phone – only during business hours or send an e-mail instead. “I also have turned off any kind of incoming e-mail announcements, so that I can actually get through the e-mail in front of me and focus on one-thing at a time.”
Assess: Rich Patterson, owner of Big Coast Brands, uses social media as his primary marketing tool. He says social media can be a “huge time suck” for some people and suggests ditching certain platforms if you feel overwhelmed. He also recommends logging out of social media accounts and allotting a time limit for using them.”I keep them all to less than 45 minutes per day.”
Take a digital vacation: Crystal Patriarche, owner of BookSparksPR and a self-proclaimed “mega multi-tasker,” takes a monthly mental-health day. “It's hard to do, but I force myself to completely shut off for a whole day: no Twitter, no Facebook, no client e-mails. I simply kick back and tell myself, ‘It can wait until tomorrow.’”
- Digital Overload: Too Much Technology Takes a Toll
- The Benefits of Networking Offline in an Online World
- âSocial Media Boot Campâ Designed for Small Businesses
Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer Brian Anthony Hernandez at Bhernandez@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and become his friend on Facebook (BAH Journalist) to interact or stay updated on news about small businesses.