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Society - Written by on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:02 - 9 Comments

Laura M.  Carrillo
Less technology + more sleep = more productive 2010?

This morning I read a fascinating post by  Patricia Sellers, Editor at Large at Fortune. She writes about her New Year’s Resolution to slow down this year. She declares -

Instead of resolving to do more this year, I’m aiming to do less. To slow down….Not to slack off at work, mind you…This mindset–to fight information overload and to focus–is quite prevalent right now.

Patricia also mentions a colleague who has gone on a technology diet and made a resolution to stay offline from 8pm to 8am every day. WOW! To my colleagues and friends that send emails at midnight, could you do that? Even just a few days a week?

This reformed behavior helps her digest her information overload, she says. “It’s the difference between snacking on information and sitting down to a meal.”

Personally, I love this idea! At a time where many believe, myself included, that we need to know everything the second it happens, and respond to messages as soon as they hit our Blackberry, would the world really fall apart if we waited just a bit? I understand that certain people can argue that their positions require this, President Obama would fall into this group, however for most professionals I think it is entirely reasonable to give yourself a break from screen time. Being available 24/7 is for convenience stores not people!

The good news is that the responsibility to change this falls to the individual. Of course, the bad news is also that the responsibility to change this falls to the individual. I know that I am guilty of setting quick response expectations.  I have often been praised for my rapid turnaround time and “efficient” work style, but does that have to mean answering messages at all hours of the night? I specifically remember turning around a brief research study overnight for a VP’s 8am client meeting. I was just coming off maternity leave, was up every couple hours anyway, so why not check email at 11pm? Wrong! The urgent request was there, I answered. It made me a hero for the day, but that needs to be the exception rather than the rule. The only way to make it so is for me and others like me, I know you’re out there, to shut down and reboot on a consistent basis.

Interestingly during a conversation with my Manager yesterday he congratulated me for staying offline during the holiday. While I did still check email, I did not respond to anything until I returned, actually following what I had written in my Out of Office message. Go figure! I started this resolution before the New Year even began!

Speaking of rebooting, another interesting note that Patricia brings up is Ariana Huffington and editor in chief of Glamour , Cindi Leive’s Sleep Challenge 2010. They have suggested that woman vow to sleep more this year. We all know the health consequences from lack of sleep, but woman still tend to be the most sleep-deprived individuals, specifically working single women and working moms.

…in order for women to get ahead in this country, we’re all going to have to lie down and take a nap….Rob yourself of sleep, and you’ll find you never function at your personal best. Work decisions, relationship challenges, any life situation that requires you to know your own mind — they all require the judgment, problem-solving and creativity that only a rested brain is capable of and are all handled best when you bring to them the creativity and judgment that are enhanced by sleep.

OK, if these super-busy and powerful women can do it, so can I. So, 2010, I am putting it in writing. This year I will aim for less screen time, more sleep time, hopefully leading to a  more productive and balanced life. Oh, and I’d like to lose those last 10 lbs too.


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Jan 5, 2010 10:25

I like this idea – a lot. In the last year, I have read several articles online and offline – you know, in magazines – about the value of slowing down, for everything from weight lifting to work. The idea is to absorb what you are reading, concentrate on what you are doing, think about what you are thinking. I agree with you on the principle of not being 24/7 just because you can be; technology is seductive, is it not?
I’ve found it’s harder to do this than to assent to doing it, however. I’ll just have to think about it.

Jan 5, 2010 13:51

At the right time do the right things… I love your idea so much
I`m ethan from China!

Ben Ziegler
Jan 5, 2010 17:54

Hi Laura, Good topic and post. I like your colleague’s snack/meal metaphor (i’m going to park that one for future use!). If collaborative & innovative leadership requires time for thinking and reflection (I hope a view of the majority), then your manager did the right thing in congratulating you on staying away from the technology for a bit. Regards, Ben.

Steve Richard
Jan 5, 2010 18:30

This is the reason that I opt to have an aircard in my laptop and no Blackberry. Logging on to a laptop is tougher than just grabbing the Blackberry so I do it less often.

Laura Carrillo
Jan 6, 2010 19:55

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. A couple quick replies:
Tim – yes technology is seductive!
Ethan – I wish I could take credit for all the ideas, I’m just sharing some ideas that I came across and thought would be valuable for our readers to see.
Ben – I like that methaphor as well. It was a colleague of Patricia’s that thought of it…very cool stuff!
Steve – smart move! Now that I’m on the Blackberry I’m not sure how I’d ever go back.

With that I am logging off for the night. Thanks again for your input.

Jørgen Hovelsen
Jan 8, 2010 11:57

My working-life is just above five years of age.I have come to a point in my life where I am overloaded with RSS-subscriptions, twitter, facebook, several other social sites and websites in general. I need to be everywhere, all the time. And everything I do needs to be perfect.

Your post made me start reflecting upon my own situation. My lifestyle is clearly not healthy and I will probably hit the wall sometime i the near future. With a full-time job, a part time study and a new-born daughter this has to change.

Thank you for making med realize that!

Today’s Stories
Jan 30, 2010 8:49

[...] Less Technology + More Sleep = More Productive 2010? Published: January 5, 2010 Source: Wikinomics This morning I read a fascinating post by Patricia Sellers, Editor at Large at Fortune. She writes about her New Year’s Resolution to slow down this year. She declares – Instead of resolving to do more this… [...]

Jun 29, 2010 14:32

think this “open source” model ist our futere. Not only in case of researching new products or music. i think open source should be the way we handel global problems. It should not get stuck in the internet. Open source for me is : giving every one a voice and the chance to get noticed. Politics, econimics, religion, open source is the free mind and free will to work together.

thought i have to read the book one more time to understand everything right ;)

Sep 23, 2010 1:22

I always try to go this way. But it never hapens and I think that I will do it from next month or so. I would certainly read this book to build my motivation. Thanks much for sharing this.

Now available in paperback!
Don Tapscott and Anthony D. William's latest collaboration, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. Learn more.

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