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.