3 Time-Saving Techniques That Can Ruin Your Career

Work is hectic, which is why time-saving devices and techniques remain so popular. However, there are at least three technology-enabled time-saving techniques which, if used thoughtlessly, can easily ruin your career.

Here they are:

Technique #1: Texting
Texting allows you to have online conversations much more quickly and easily even than e-mail. It offers some of the immediacy of a telephone call, but without the necessity to completely interrupt what you're doing and take the call. Even so, the immediacy and interactivity of texting makes it peculiarly dangerous to your career.

Unlike a phone conversation, texting leaves a record of what was communicated. That's true of voice mail and email, too, but in those cases, there's some pause during the interchange, thus creating an automatic cooling-off period. Not so with texting, where a heated discussion can easily spiral out of control -- and remain part of the permanent record.

Technique #2: Remote Access
With a smartphone, you can get work done anywhere and are therefore "available" to your boss and colleagues. That wasn't really true with a regular cell phone, because there were always times when it wasn't possible to speak out loud. Smartphones, on the other hand, support email and texting, and can even be used to create documents.

The problem here is that many people find it difficult to disconnect long enough to relax. Vacations and down time were already endangered behaviors before the advent of smartphone. Today, there's a real danger that you'll forget to take the time to recharge your batteries (and I don't mean the one in your iPhone and iPad). As a result, you can end up burnt out and testy when you need to be your best.

Technique #3: Last Minute Preparation
Constant connectivity makes it possible for business people to quickly review material right before an important meeting. That sounds like a real time saver, but in fact it often results in poor performance, because it takes your focus away from your primary task, which is managing your emotions.
When I was in college, I remember walking into a classroom right before an exam and seeing half the class desperately paging through their textbooks. They looked harried and frightened and were, in fact, retaining nothing, but simply working themselves up into a tizzy.

By contrast, I not only didn't prepare the day of the exam, I never even prepared the night before. I figured that, if I don't know the material, a late night study session will only make me groggy. Instead, I always made it a point to get my studying done the week before. As a result, I walked into exams calm and collected.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen businessfolk make the exact same mistake as those mediocre students. They fret and fuss before a big meeting, check out websites, review their materials, do some emails, try to find out more information... and then they walk into the meeting frazzled.

Then they wonder why the meeting didn't go so well.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't use these tools, or that the techniques can't save you time. However, I AM saying that you should ALWAYS look at new technology and techniques with a slightly jaundiced eye. Ask yourself: will this REALLY serve my long term goals? Or am I choosing to value tactical convenience rather than the strategic development of my career?

READERS: Any other techniques I should have included?

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