I love technology and the online world. Since I was 10 years old, I’ve considered myself an Apple fanboy that would want whatever they made. Apple was always the “good guys” while Windows was the “evil empire.” Even today I immediately upgrade to the latest iPhone and iPad every year and I justify it by telling myself that “I must keep up with what’s new so that I can make myself more productive.”
Technology has definitely helped me get more done in less time and grow my businesses.
I’ve been doing Internet marketing since 2004 and it’s played a big part in creating a million-dollar network marketing business and also the success of MLM Nation.
However, there is a dark side to technology. It can be a great tool or a terrible master—and unfortunately, it has enslaved and hurt many aspiring entrepreneurs. As a business owner we must work hard to stay focused on the important tasks so we achieve our goals. Our energies must be channeled correctly every day, hour, and second, otherwise we waste the precious time and mental energy on things that don’t grow our businesses.
If we aren’t vigilant, technology can be the source of distraction that prevents us from doing what we should be doing. We live in the Distraction Economy today. All technology companies get paid to distract us—with nonstop notifications, banner ads, or newsfeed posts that divert our attention from what we should be focusing on.
Have you ever found yourself ready to go prospect, but then without realizing it, you wasted valuable minutes because you got caught up with something you saw in your newsfeed?
Or do you sometimes decide to spend quality time with your family, but find yourself distracted and looking at your phone constantly during a family outing? It’s sad and scary how we are constantly distracted.
Technology not only distracts us, it might even cause new mental diseases in the future. Society in general has no idea of the consequences of always being in a constant reactive mode and not letting your mind rest.
Just like we learned about the harmful effects of cigarettes a few generations later and how kids suffer food allergies that were unheard of a generation ago from modified foods, we will see a new generation that will develop mental disorders due to the nonstop distractions and how our brains are “always on.”
The mind needs rest, or else it will burn out, and technology can speed up that mental burnout.
That said, technology is an awesome resource if you learn to master it. Here are 5 rules I apply so that I use technology as a tool and prevent it from enslaving me.
Turn Off All Notifications
Don’t let the companies in the Distraction Economy make money off of you. When they steal your attention, they steal your time! When you first turn off your phone or computer, you’ll feel weird that it’s always quiet, but after a few days you’ll cherish the peace and quiet and be shocked at how you used to live. You’ll also get to accomplish more since you’ll be completely focused on the task you’re doing.
Don’t Reply to Emails or Messages Immediately
Get over the fact that you must reply to someone immediately the second they contact you. Not only will it drive you crazy, but it’s not sustainable. As you grow your business, there’s no way you can reply immediately to the thousands of people who all contact you at same time. You also must train your downline and leaders to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. You don’t want to be their ball and chain. Initially they may be upset at you, but over time, they will see the wisdom and appreciate you for helping them grow as leaders.
Check Email and Messages at Scheduled Times
Set specific times during the day to check messages. Make it a proactive exercise instead of reactive. Whether you check it 5 or 30 times a day, you’ll soon realize that you’re far more productive and happier, because you’re not enslaved by someone else’s requests. You can set specific hours of the day or certain times to check. For example, I spend 5 - 10 minutes in my car to clear out my inbox immediately after I drop off my kids at school each morning.
Create a Technology Downtime
Determine certain times of the day where you do not let others distract you. Three times I cherish are dinners with my family, one-on-one meetings, and my workouts. I don’t check my phone for anything nor let anyone disturb me during these precious times. I don’t care how “important” something is, I let it go. Most of the time the things we think are so important in the moment are really not that important when we look back on them later. We tend to dramatize things when they happen. My phone is on 24/7 Do Not Disturb and the only two people that can get through to me are my wife and business partner.
Don’t Look at Your Phone First Thing in the Morning or Last Thing before You Sleep
Have you ever woken up to a great idea? It happens to me almost every night. That’s because the subconscious mind works while you sleep—but you must program your subconscious to work on the things you want! Create a habit of looking at your goals and dreams as the last thing before you go to bed and first thing when you wake up.
Your time and attention is valuable, so make sure you don’t let technology distract you. Take a proactive approach and safeguard your time so that you can focus your time and energies on the income-producing tasks that will grow your business. You’ll be more successful in your business, healthier, and happier if you follow these 5 rules.
SIMON CHAN is the founder of MLM NATION, the #1 MLM training on iTunes. He’s a business coach, writer, and online marketer who helps network marketing distributors find more prospects, sponsor more people, and create duplication.