smb-tech-trendsIs it taking you longer and longer to shut down your electronic devices when the flight attendant asks that you do?  A survey from Juniper Networks last year indicated that mobile users worldwide own an average of three Internet-connected devices, while nearly one in five people own five or more devices for work and home use.

Small Business Trends recently interviewed me about ways small business owners can avoid mobile device overload. As convenient as mobile devices are for running your small business anywhere and anytime, managing them can be time consuming.  As your mobile arsenal grows to include a laptop, tablet, smartphone and a Bluetooth headset (not to mention a possible device for playing your favorite tunes) so do the number of chargers, adapters, carrying cases and other accessories you need to have on hand. Ironically it may take more time to sort out the mobile devices you need for a trip, than it takes to pack your clothes. To keep devices under control; I recommend these tips:

Keep mobile devices under control

Make wise choices: As alluring as some of the new devices are, do you really need all of them? (A friend of mine has never used the small printer she bought just to print out photos stored on her computer.)  Ask yourself if you have time to learn all the features of a new gadget and how much use you’ll get. Many of the gadgets you already have may already provide the baseline features you need to be productive away from the office.

laptop, smartphone and tabletKeep things straight:  Put device cords and accessories in one place – a drawer in your desk or cabinet – so you know where everything is when you need them. It also helps to use masking tape or a small adhesive tag to label things so you know what goes with what.

Only take what you need on the go: Less can be more or more than enough especially when you are out of the office. Your smartphone may be all you need to stay  connected while you are gone. After all not only can you make and receive calls on your smartphone;  you can check email and even launch a video chat if face time with your team or customer is necessary.

You can read the rest of my tips at  “How to Avoid Mobile Devices Overload.”

Should planes be a no work zone?

And about the flight attendant asking you to shut down your electronic devices, BusinessWeek suggests that you keep them off and avoid work during the duration of the flight. Among their reasons:

  • You can’t concentrate: Lack of oxygen on board in the friendly skies affects your ability to think clearly.
  • You forget easier: At 8,000 feet, you have to think harder to remember things as easily as you do on the ground.
  • You’re stressed: The sound of the jet engine can throw you off. Best to wear a noise cancelling headset if you must work (that’s advice from BusinessWeek and of course I agree).
  • You’re down: You may be high above the clouds, but studies show passengers report fatigue and malaise at normal flying altitudes.
  • You have a headache: Changes in cabin pressure can make your head hurt, which of course makes it hard to think.

All good food for thought, but personally I enjoy the uninterrupted time on board to get things done. How about you? Do you work on a plane flight or use the time to catch up on your reading or the movies?