Increased Availability: Are You Handling It, Or Is It Handling You?


Published by Tim D'Arcy on 17 June, 2013

You may not think much about it today, but we have tried for many years to increase our availability.

We obtained cellphones to be able to reach each other outside the office or home, but we still had to go to the office to access the client database or to send an email. This is,  for most people, really old-fashioned thinking in today’s business world.

Our availability or accessibility has over the last years increased so much that with a smartphone in our hands we can now do just about anything, anywhere. What an improvement! We can do whatever we need to do, wherever we want to do it and at any time during our 168 weekly hours. Amazing! Or is it? From different opinion leaders we are told that it has never been more difficult for us (in this lane on the information superhighway) to stay focused on the task or subject; an increasing number of people are spending more and more time jumping (mentally) from one thing to another without being able to finish the first one.

The reasons for not finishing a task can be many, but one clear reason for this is because we have become more and more accessible - first, we are always available ourselves and second, we expect that others should also always be available for us. Or maybe it feels like the other way around? And that is exactly the issue. We have become so available for everyone else that it can be hard to focus on our own priorities and tasks and to follow our own plans. If you don’t make and follow your own plans you will most likely be a part of someone else’s plan. Am I saying that this increased availability is not a positive contribution in our mission to perform our daily tasks? No, and let me just be clear: I am not saying the problem is the increased availability itself; rather, the problem is what we do with it, and how we choose to handle it - or our failure to handle it.

What are your thoughts about this? Please share your experiences with us.

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