President Obama Could Limit His BlackBerry Use Now That He's Survived Without It

President Obama had a mountain of issues to deal with in his first 100 days, and not having his BlackBerry helped him stay focused. I’m hoping that he doesn’t get sucked back in to his BlackBerry addiction.

It’s old news that President Barack Obama was addicted to his BlackBerry. Now that he’s had to live without it, he’s benefited in ways he may not have realized.

From the perspective of a time management expert who teaches people how to manage email overload, here are  some benefits I believe the President has experienced since being forced to live without his BlackBerry.

Did his best work because he was more focused. Once the President’s addiction was in check, he was better able to complete a thought, finish what he started, and pay more attention to what counted. He has some serious messes to lead us out of and his total attention is needed to do that.

Got back ability to concentrate. The President no longer gets distracted the instant something rings, beeps, or buzzes. He is no longer walking down the street and taking a chance of bumping into poles and people while he’s thumbing and scrolling. Yes, he’s brilliant and can manage several things at once, but to lead us out of this mess, his brain cells are in overdrive and we can not afford for him to waste a single one. The results of his more focused efforts speak for themselves.

Showed staff he trusted them. He was not always “on” so his team felt more confident about believing they could get things done without letting him know their every move. Everyone should be trained well enough to make good decisions based on well thought-out processes and procedures. This being the case, it’s OK to miss an email or two.

Listened more intently. With the ringing and buzzing gone, President Obama was able to listen and get it right the first time instead of having to double-back or double-check. People come at him with everything they’ve got so not having the BlackBerry distraction leaves nothing to chance.

Made others around him feel more worthy. The most important person in the room is the one you’re with. I would not want the President appearing disrespectful by not being fully engaged. It’s best to turn the BlackBerry off in all meetings. “You’re the boss, Mr. President, and no one will say anything, but trust me, it doesn’t make people feel good when you ease your BlackBerry under the table and peek. People want your undivided attention as a sign of respect. And don’t even think about leaving it on once you’re in your private quarters.

Slept better at night. Once President Obama stopped sleeping with his beloved BlackBerry under his pillow, he was able to get a good night’s sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning.

The President has already proven that life goes on without the BlackBerry. You can do it too. People such as 9-1-1 operators, receptionists, specialists for medical emergencies, and high-level technicians on call may have to be available the instant something rings, beeps, buzzes, or dings, but why do you? As much as I love email, I don’t want to be tied to it 24/7/365. If you’ve got it so bad that your work and home life suffer, box up your BlackBerry and ship it to yourself with 3-5 day ground delivery. When you get it back, you’ll be more sensible with it. And every time you start to feel the urge to overindulge, ship it again.

Widget Calculates How Much Free Time You Have Each Week

One of the exercises I conduct in my time management training involves having the attendees determine how much free time they have after doing all the things they absolutely have to do. I came up with a brilliant idea (at least I think it was brilliant) and had this time log coded as a Flash (SWF) file (hired a programmer through After that, I was able to turn the SWF into a widget (at The widget will also provide a way for me to shamelessly promote my blog as others download it and add to their site (see more of my shameless tips in my ebook).

Use the time calculator above (also located in the right sidebar of this blog), and it will do the math. You’ll quickly see that you have more free time than you think.

The big question is how will you use it?
Will you waste it by being disorganized, procrastinating, and dealing with all the other time bandits you allow to take over your day? Or will you set goals and prioritize how you spend your time based on them? Get selfish and focus on making YOU better.

To get the work done, you have to work hard but you shouldn’t have to work long. To create time for a life, you have to work smart. See the related posts below for tips on how to spend less time working but get more done.

You can add my widget to your Web site or blog by clicking the
Get Widget
button. It’s free.


Change a PDF to a Graphic (jpeg, TIF, etc.)

I received a PDF and needed to change it to a graphic. This way, I’d have more flexibility when I needed to insert it in various documents. I’m using an older version of Adobe Acrobat (7.0) and although I saw the  option to File, Save As, jpeg, it didn’t work for me.

Here is what I ended up doing.

  1. Open the PDF in a graphic program (I use Paint Shop Pro and also PhotoShop Elements).
  2. Click the File menu, Save As, choose desired graphic format.

That’s it!


Related Posts

Attach a Native Word File to a PDF Before You Send It
Is Your Ebook Ugly?

How Do You Remember Due Dates, Commitments, and Promises?

Use your brain for thinking; not for remembering
– Peggy Duncan

As you go through the day acknowledging due dates or making commitments and promises, always ask yourself: “How am I going to remember this?” Then put some type of external cues in place that will trigger the action.

You probably already use a to do list, tickler file, calendar or task reminders in Outlook, sticky note, etc. I use all of these plus a lot of checklists. But when it’s something I need to remember that I will look pretty foolish if I forget (such as a Webinar, radio interview, etc.), I use a free download, the Talking Alarm Clock from Cinnamon Software. If I’m going to be away from my computer, I set alarms on my BlackBerry.

The Talking Alarm Clock lets your computer remind you of important deadlines. Each reminder pops up in a separate box with either a talking character or other sound. You’ll also discover these other features.

  • An alarm can be set to go off once, daily, weekly, monthly or annually, with very flexible scheduling.  Each alarm can have multiple schedules.

  • You can configure an alarm to open files, run programs, send email, and open Web pages.

  • An icon in the Windows® system tray gives quick access to the alarm clock.  The New Alarm Wizard makes adding an alarm fast and easy.

UPDATE: Now that I have an iPhone, I use an app, Alarmed, that was created with me and time management in mind.

So the next time you need to remember something important, set the reminder and forget about it. Let me know about the first time it saves you! Visit my Website and find out about my popular time management training.


Small Business Owners Want to Know How to Get Found Online on a Budget

I presented my shameless self-promotion seminar for SCORE Chicago recently. The standing-room-only crowd of small business owners was totally into it. Lots of great questions and comments. Jo Anne Cano, Vice President of A.J. Smith Federal Savings Bank, said: “Thank you so much. Your presentation on Tuesday at SCORE was awesome. It gave me lots of great tips and I hope to put them to good use.”

My secrets to getting boatloads of publicity are detailed in my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO. And I’d love to travel to your next event to speak live, or we can meet on the Web. If you’re interested, contact me directly.

This seminar and ebook outline is as follows:

  • Get Your Website Ready.
  • Promote What You Know.
  • Find Out What the Media Wants.
  • Find Time to Do All This.

I put all this together because people kept asking me how I get so much major publicity without a public relations agency. This is beginning to be one of my favorite things to teach.

Here are a few of my tips in this
FREE slideshow titled Blogging Your Way Up the Google Ladder.