I want to make sure that e-mail, social media and all of the other technology we're blessed with helps me with that goal. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to let our technological wonders distract us from what is truly important.
Now I don't feel like we can jump ship on e-mail, facebook, texting, etc because so much personal and relational communication happens over these mediums. But to make sure I'm not the one getting used, I'm drawing the following lines in the proverbial sands of Silicon Valley.
- 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: Set a limit for how often you check and respond to e-mail. Personally, I'm checking my e-mail three times each day. Other than those times, I close my e-mail program so it's not distracting me.
- Line 3: Keep it simple, short and to the point.
- 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 still Google Reader, despite Google's attempt to ruin it.
- Line 1: Make 1 list of "Friends to Invest In" or something similar. Set a limit of how many friends this will be. "Listen and respond" to this list for about 10 minutes each day. Like e-mail, pick a time and stick with it.
- Line 2: If there's anyone you want to follow more frequently than once a day, use Facebook's mobile texting feature to do so. This helps you avoid extra time on Facebook (see Line #3).
- Line 3: Don't spend any additional time on Facebook, as it will suck you in.
- Line 4: Use an RSS reader or your e-mail program 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.
(Side Note: Facebook is honestly annoying to me. If it wasn't for the fact that nearly all of our COCUSA Staff use it I would probably push the whole thing into the deep end. The above lines are how I've chosen to use it without being used, adapt as you feel necessary.)
- 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.