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Time Mangagement in the Age of Social Media
Mar 11, 2009

David Allen in this BusinessWeek article  finds value in Social Media but does raise two potential issues that I agree needs to be individually monitored as it evolves; our ability to control our focus and our time management.

First let's think about focus. Stephen Covey puts it this way, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."  We are very busy; we lead a complex and challenging life.  We're pulled in countless directions with everyone clamoring for our attention.  We find ourselves conflicted about who should be paid attention too first.   One answer is proper focus. I recall a clever saying that applies here; “You can always divide your time, but you should never divide your attention." Focus is about staying in a moment.  Focus requires discipline and practice.  When we are capable of barring all distractions from “a specific moment,”  we are on the right path.  The question this article raises;  can Twitter, Facebook etal. interfere with our ability to control our focus and thus become a distraction?  My limited experience with both suggests , that if not used properly, it is a distraction and breaks our control over focus.

As for time management, since the earliest days of e-mail and web surfing, productivity and time management questions have been raised both personally and professionally.  I recall a 4 year old survey by Microsoft that forewarned all of us of a potential problem. They conducted the “Microsoft Office Personal Productivity Challenge (PCC),” which drew responses from more than 38,000 people in 200 countries.  The intent of the survey was to rate workers' productivity based on their responses to statements about work-related practices regarding time management.  Two major findings were: 1) In the U.S., of the 45 hours in an average work week, 16 were unproductive and 2) procrastination and distractions accounted for 42% of productivity pitfalls.  This study was fielded well before the popular movement toward social networking. 

Today the crossover between work life and play life is blurred.  Where does one end and the other begin? Social Networking crosses over as well.  It enters both phases of our lives and can be a relief, a release, a diversion, a distraction, an addiction,  a relationship enhancer, a waste of time,  and a potential threat to  the control of our focus and sound time management.  Personal discipline insures balance.  That's the challenge.


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