Being Wired or Tired by Sarah Houghton-Jan

There’s an excellent new article from Sarah Houghton-Jan at Ariadne:

All of it is golden, but here are some bits that resonated with me:

Make an Inventory of Your Devices

Not only do we need to consider the data, and the mechanism for their input, but the devices we use to access that data. I have a choice about accessing my work email; I can use any of three different computers or my smart phone. I have a choice about what device I use to talk to my parents; do I use my home phone or my smart phone? Consider all of the devices you use, and add a third detail for each of the items listed in your inventory: what device do you use, and whether or not you should use a different one.

Read Up

There are many books about information overload and dealing with information generally. Here are some of my recommendations: Information Anxiety [8] and Information Anxiety 2 [9] by Richard Saul Wurman, Take Back Your Life!: Using Microsoft Outlook to Get Organised and Stay Organised by Sally McGhee [10], Techno Stress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution by Craig Brod [11], and TechnoStress: Coping with Technology @ Work @ Home @ Play [12].

Think Before Sending

Before using RSS, IM, email or any other tool to deliver information to someone else, think about whether or not it would be better or easier to talk in person or via the phone. Think not only about what would work better for the other person as an input, but what would work better for you when you receive a reply.

Schedule Yourself

Use your calendar not only to schedule yourself for meetings and appointments. Schedule your workday to include time set aside to check your email, to take some time to reflect, check your RSS feeds, and more. Stick to the time you have allotted yourself.

That last one is wonderful. I’ve been taking weekend unplugging breaks – as Helene Blowers does – and I schedule blogging time and course prep time. This especially worked well during the analysis and results phase of my dissertation. I scheduled hours to write AND hours NOT to write or think about it. It really helped curb that overwhelming feeling. I’ll be adding this gem to my courses – I am so glad it’s open and on the Web! 🙂