Monday, December 20, 2010

Using Technology (Version 1.Busy)

I'm not that busy.  I'm really not.  Especially compared to some folks that I know.  But during times of my life that I'm busiER I tend to waste time getting used by technology.  (For me those times are mainly the months of May through August when COCUSA's summer camp is in session.)  So below is a repost of my plan to use technology instead of getting used.  I'm planning to test-drive this plan during the next two weeks while the Camp of Champions Winter Camp program is underway.  My goal is to spend more time with kids and staff and less time in the proverbial (and often literal) office.

Now that being said, I don't feel like we can jump ship on e-mail, facebook, and texting (even during busy times) because so much personal and relational communication happens over these mediums today.  But to make sure I'm not the one getting used, I'm drawing the following lines in the proverbial sands of Silicon Valley.

Email

  • Line 1: Personally respond to as many people as possible, keeping in mind that not all e-mail you receive comes from people.
  • Line 2: Punch out responses to e-mails once a day.  Pick a time and stick with it. (I've just started testing Gmail's Priority Inbox.  And so far I like it.  So I'm actually only going to respond to those messages labeled "Important" once a day.  And save everything else for once a week.)
  • Line 3: Keep it simple.  Review two.sentence.es and its accompanying websites.
  • Line 4: If you find yourself giving the same responses to multiple people, consider using an e-mail template (ie Gmail's "Canned Responses").
  • Line 5: Be nice! Say please and thank you. Ask for prayer requests. Ask questions related to your previous knowledge of the person and their circumstances.
  • Line 6: Use an RSS reader program to keep your Inbox clear of newsletters, blog updates, etc. (My personal favorite is Google Reader.  But seeing how this can be a big distraction and lead me to read a million other internet articles, I'm going to only check my reader at home during these next 2 weeks.)
Facebook
  • Line 1: Make 1 list of Friends to Invest In.  Set a limit of how many friends this will be.  (I've done this and currently I daily check in on 100 Facebook friends through my home page feed.  Although during a busy time I don't need to be daily checking Facebook.  So I'm going to try subscribing to SMS updates for an even smaller number of Friends.  We'll see how it goes.)
  • Line 2: Provide occasional status updates about life and ministry via text message.
  • Line 3: Don't spend any additional time on Facebook, as it has the tendency to suck you in.
  • Line 4: Use Google reader and/or SMS for notifications so you don't feel the need to check back in to Facebook multiple times each day.
  • Line 5: Be very judicious about who you accept as friends, especially when it comes to females.  If your wife would raise her eyebrows at who you accepted, don't do it.

Cell Phone
  • Line 1: Have 'no texting' times.  For me this means put the phone out of site from 5-8pm.
  • Line 2: Prioritize the people in front of you over the random person calling.

Do you have any busier times in your life?  What's your plan to use the technology, without getting used?

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