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Managing Your Technology Clutter

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Help…I’m addicted to my computer and I can’t get anything done. SOUND FAMILIAR?

A computer can be an incredible time saving device. You can use it to bank online, order refills for your prescriptions, shop for clothes, gifts or food. You can send an e-card, email or read a newspaper, blog or search the web. The downside to this incredibly helpful technology is that it is so easy to get swept up into the cyber world and lose track of the real world that is right in front of you.

The first thing you might want to do is give some serious thought to exactly what your computer means to you and how it functions in your life. Is it just an entertainment tool or are you using it for business?

You want your computer to benefit your life which will mean setting some ground rules. These will vary widely per your individual circumstances. Give yourself an appropriate time limit when online. If you have a family at home, don’t allow your computer time to take away from real face-to-face quality time with them. Nothing online is as important as being with your loved ones. If you use your computer as a social tool, as most people do in this day and age, be sure that you also get out in the real world and interact with other live, breathing humans.

Take a good hard, long look at email you receive. You can and should control what you allow to enter your email box. If you have friends or family members who forward you every joke or virus warning to make its way around the internet, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them politely to stop. Remove your email address from all but the very most important newsletters. Keep receiving only those that provide you with a real benefit like the CLEAR PATH NEWSLETTER.

Just like you don’t have to read every email you receive, there’s also no rule out there that says you have to download and view every (or any for that matter) one of the plethora of video clips or powerpoint shows that people love to send to everyone that they’ve ever met. It’s okay to simply delete the email.

Make a plan before you get on the computer. Say for example that you have one hour to spend. Jot down a list of the things you know you need to accomplish in that time frame. If you spend 10 minutes doing online banking, 15 minutes to read and reply to email, 15 minutes to place an online order or two then that will leave you 20 minutes left to spend on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter.

If you find yourself frequently losing track of time and spending more time than you planned, start setting a timer. Once the timer goes off, be true to your decision and put down the mouse. Avoid the trap of saying just 10 more minutes. In that 10 minutes, you could thrown in a load of laundry or fill and start the dishwasher or better yet, snuggle with a child or a pet.

In order to avoid feeling guilty while you’re online, use your computer time as a reward for time spent on less pleasant tasks. For instance, you can promise yourself that if you spend 45 minutes and vacuum the house, then you get to spend 15 minutes online doing whatever you please. If you prefer to work in baby steps or in 15 minute blocks, than give yourself baby steps on the computer, say 5 minutes to check the latest headlines or visit with friends!

Even if you use your computer primarily for business, it’s still easy to get sucked into the black hole of time. Avoid checking your email every 10 minutes. Work email is a convenience but it can quickly become very inefficient if overused.

Be sure to get up from your computer frequently, walk around a bit, stretch your legs, shake your arms, wrists and fingers. Have a drink of water and rest your eyes.

Kimberly Zanetti Purcell

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