The Problem With Always Being Connected

There’s a major problem with leaders in the top organizations today. One many of them are unwilling to face for fear of missing out or fear of being thought of less.

That problem? The problem of always being connected.

There's a problem with always being connected

Image by Irina Slutsky

You may think I’m talking of how connected we are with others. The relationships we’ve formed. The bonds that draw friends together.

This isn’t the connection that’s the problem. Those are great connections and we need to strive to make more of these meaningful connections.

There’s a more sinister type of connection that’s quickly burning emerging leaders out.

The connection that’s killing us is the always on, always available connection.

How We’re Connected

In the last century, we’ve come to expect to be connected at any hour of the day. We’re no longer able to leave the office at 5PM and expect a semblance of privacy. Oh no, those days are long gone.

Today, we’re expected to carry around an iPhone 5S (or the Galaxy S5), the newest iPad (with 4G service), a laptop with a mobile hot spot so we can connect anywhere, anytime.

We’re more connected than ever with every new portable device we add to our collection. We’re tethered to them!

Take a moment the next time you’re outside. Look around the coffee shop or the local park. Rarely will you see people connecting in person. Rather, you’ll see person after person on their phone, buried deep into work that’s carried with them everywhere.

This is how we’re connected now.

The Problem With Being Connected Always

If you’re like other business leaders I know, you don’t think this is a problem. Instead, you think it’s a godsend. You can be anywhere and still connected to the office.

I’ll agree. This is great, to a point.

The problem arises when we don’t know how to put away our mobile devices that keep us connected to the outside world. The problem is we begin to ignore our families. We ignore our friends. We ignore our other responsibilities.

There’s a sense that we have to be Johnny on the spot when it comes to business communications. We have to take the business call the moment the call comes in. We have to immediately respond to any issue that arises.

I can’t tell you sternly enough, these thoughts are lies from the pit of business hell.

The Truth About Always Being Connected

You’ll hear other business experts tell you that being connected and available only helps you ascend the ranks of business. You’ll lead better. You’ll make more sales. You’ll see success come more quickly.

That’s not the truth. In fact, I’ve seen the exact opposite happen.

The more people have been connected because of their mobile phones and portable devices, the less effective they become over the long term. This seems like a strange paradox because these mobile devices have been touted as time savers and to increase our productivity.

Yet, they often don’t. They zap our energy because we’re worried about the next business call. There’s the temptation to check our business email to see if we can obtain inbox zero. Or the text message that tells us we missed our goal deadline.

These type of activities drain us quicker than being in the office. Our bodies are becoming stressed beyond their capabilities because of our sense that we need to always be connected.

But you don’t! You don’t have to be tethered to a phone to be a successful leader. You don’t have to carry around the newest MacBook Pro so you can complete the latest work project. You don’t have to respond to emails when they come in.

We can break our addiction to electronic connection.

We can silence our cell phones after hours. We can make a commitment to not check emails after 6PM. We can put away the laptop once we return home.

It’s high time we get back to focusing on our responsibilities outside of work. Decide you’ll focus on your family, your friends, your life. You can do it. I know you can!

Question: How have you broken the addiction of always being connected? Share your tip in the comment section below.

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