This week is International Coaching Week.
Coaching can play a pivotal role in helping create positive conditions for the individual or group to flourish and prosper. However, with the advancement of different communication platforms in this digital age, the pace of life can for some, become overwhelming.
"It is just being constantly connected to everything. You are just unable to switch off....."
Richard Balding, British Occupational Psychologist, on IT stress.
How do you manage communication overload?
Here are my 7 practical tips that may help manage communication overload:
1. Review use of social media
2. Work on gratitude
3. Be aware of feelings
4. Start journalling
5. Take time out
6. Streamline your spending
7. Get a coach
Precisely that – people with the lifestyle that affords them the luxury of taking away with them on holiday the laptop can feel a sense of duty or obligation to whip out the mobile or Apple Mac and catch up on work emails or do that “little bit extra” whilst away.
The ease with which we can “switch off” in the true sense of the words these days has been seriously compromised. It is a topic which raised its head repeatedly in coaching sessions with my clients: the increased level of distraction and virtual “noise” which contributes to the feeling that we are doing lots of things badly rather than focusing on doing a few things well.
Getting Away from it All
The fifteenth of November 2002 should have been a memorable day for me anyway as I arrived on the beautifully lush Thai Island of Koh Phi Phi for the first time, taking in the steep limestone cliffs, green vegetation peppering the tops, and the turquoise ocean lapping at the almost translucent white sand beaches. But memorable not for the call to my mobile from Chambers telling me, whilst I was dressed in my bikini, flip flops and sarong, that there was an urgent advice needing my attention for a Court of Appeal case the following week.
Now more fool me for having had my mobile (a) with me, and (b) on, and (c) having answered. Yes, of course, I take responsibility for that. But it’s the fact that I stewed on the contents of the call for at least 48 hours afterwards, even after giving the clerks short shrift about the unnecessary and pointless interruption to an otherwise idyllic holiday.
There are other specific points in my career as a criminal barrister that I remember for similar reasons: the Charles Bridge, Prague on a 2 night city break; at Leeds Bradford Airport as I was lifting my heavy back pack on to the baggage carousel about to embark on a 6 week tour of Australia. And with the challenge to clerks about why the call was even made, the age old retort: “Well your diary was marked Away; Are you Away, Away?!”
YES. I AM AWAY!!
At the end of the day, the world didn’t stop turning; the scales of justice never toppled. It’s simply that in those days I allowed my mind-set to get the better of me and spoil the remainder of my trips. In the case of my lengthy Australian adventures, that was particularly regrettable.
Solutions to Quieten the Digital Noise
Older, wiser, and now a coach empowering female lawyers to achieve career ambitions whilst creating congruent lives, what tips do I offer then by way of solutions?
The Great Mobile Switch Off
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