I recently joined the ranks of those who own a piece of technology that lets them stay constantly connected – it’s a phone, email inbox, organiser and internet connection all in one.

This device has given me extra flexibility in how I manage my time and my work. There are plenty of small benefits, but here are the two big ones for me:

Email freedom

First and most importantly, I no longer need to get to my office, wait while the PC boots up and then open my email program before I can glance at my emails. My handy all-in- one device, which goes with me everywhere, enables me to view my emails on the server before I even have to download them.

As a result, what is normally a 20 to 30 minute job becomes a five minute job which I can do anywhere, anytime. It also has the added bonus of allowing me to delete spam emails before they hit my PC. I’m no technical genius, but I think that means less of an opportunity for viruses to find a home in my computer.

So in the mornings I’m already more relaxed because I’ve deleted all the rubbish before I’ve finished my coffee.

Want more articles like this? Check out the smartphones and tablets section.

Controlling contact

I know turning these all-in-one devices off is a problem for many. Robert Gerrish discussed this in his article about being always available.

Personally, though, this is not an issue. There’s a big difference between normal mode, vibrate mode, phone-only mode and completely off. I find it hard to take when people put their phones on vibrate while in meetings, then check who has called and answer the phone anyway, but phone etiquette is a whole other topic best saved for a separate article!

I use silent mode when I absolutely don’t want any distractions. For example when I am writing, having lunch, taking breaks or planning.

I use vibrate mode rarely - only when I’m with other people and have a call I absolutely must take such as resolving a crisis or trying to make an appointment with a tradesman. If it’s not the call I want, I reject it immediately.

You can set up the device to alert you when you receive a call, a text and when a new email arrives. The standard setting for me is ‘phone only’.

Just like on your regular PC, if you stop to check an email or text every time one arrives, your level of productivity nosedives. I choose to check my emails and texts at certain times of the day, rather than reacting every time one comes in.

I use the off switch when my working hours are over and I don’t turn it on until I am ready to commence work again. I say working hours rather than working day because I enjoy the flexibility of dealing with some things at odd hours. If I’ve had a day where work has taken a back seat then I don’t have any problem scanning my emails quickly in the evening. I would never leave the phone on over night. There’s no clearer indicator than this that says “You may get in touch with me anytime, anywhere – and I’ll answer you”.

So it’s all about the boundaries you are prepared to set and live by. These all-in-one devices can take over our life, but if you are like me, you can stay in control and take advantage of the added flexibility they provide.

Also, they look pretty cool….

“ I use the off switch when my working hours are over and I don’t turn it on until I am ready to commence work again. ”
Megan Tough

Megan Tough runs Complete Potential, a company that helps businesses solve their strategy and people problems. She loves being a solopreneur, and when she doesn't have her nose to the grindstone, is fulfilling her other passion of fitness and health.

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