Workaholic? Never! Oh, wait on…

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pressure!Have you ever thought to yourself, "I'll never be a workaholic, I value my time too much", and then found yourself working after dinner or at weekends? You're not alone, especially if you're a small business owner. Trust me, I've not only been there, I AM there. I used to enjoy switching off at the end of each day, but that's a luxury these days. I think the rise and rise of technology puts more pressure on all of us to be connected, to be always available. I'm sure you've had people leave repeated text messages, voice messages or emails for you, wondering why you are out of range for an hour or two. You could be in a meeting or conference, but whatever the reason you're simply not there when people want you to be. The trouble is, many of us put up with it. Do you:
  • let people ring you outside business hours - have mobile phone, will, be available?
  • check your emails before going to bed?
  • check your emails before breakfast?
  • stuck in meetings all day, you work into the night to catch up on projects and tasks?
  • view weekends as the perfect time to work without constant interruptions from mobile phones and emails?
  • use your smartphone or tablet to check your email/professional social media accounts at restaurants?
  • work when you're on holiday - after all, most hotels and resorts have good broadband, so why not catch up on work?
If you've said yes to at least one of these, you're well on your way to workaholism. It's time to take stock, fellow workaholics. The old cliche that nobody ever went to their grave muttering that they should have spent more time at the office is very true. Finding the courage to switch off is the hard part. How do you put your foot down and change the status quo when people are used to you being available constantly? If you can manage to minimise your meetings, you'll free up time. See if your clients or colleagues are willing to conference call on Skype rather than meet in person. It's more likely you'll stick to the agenda if you're not chatting face to face. Working from home can keep the interruptions down too if you're able to do it. If you're not sitting at your desk in a corporate office then nobody can walk past it and interrupt you. If you're using Tungle to organise appointments, block one day a week off and turn off the phone. Use that day to work on your projects so you can have a night or weekend off. On a corporate Outlook system, same thing - block a day off. Often corporate cultures require their employees to work over and above the standard eight hours a day; it impresses the bosses and makes you look like you want to go further up the corporate ladder. Think about this: if you're working an extra hour a day with no overtime or salary increase or other appropriate benefits, the only entity doing well out of the situation is the company/your boss. You, my friend, are getting ripped off in your efforts to adhere to corporate culture and play the company game. Is it worth it? Really? Is there a possibility that if you get promoted you could change the corporate culture to allow your people in your department  including yourself to work reasonable hours? Again, technology has changed the corporate culture to make us work longer and harder, simply because the tools are there to enable it. So...what are your thoughts on workaholism? Is it affecting you? If so, what have you done about it? Have you changed jobs? Importantly, have your managed to change your lifestyle to one that lets you relax when you need to?

New CamCard app could make saving business cards a thing of the past, unless you’re an iPhone 3 user

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I read this article in the Australian today about a clever new smartphone app that could make hoarding cardboard business cards a thing of the past. ¬†This clever little chap is called CamCard. To quote The Oz, "This app streamlines the tiresome task of taking contact information from cards and entering it into an electronic contact book. It uses a smartphone's inbuilt camera to capture an image of each card and then applies clever character recognition algorithms to extract details and store them in the phone's address book.   "During a test, CamCard recognised a variety of business cards, including some with dark backgrounds and dominant logos. After taking a photo of a card, the software took about three seconds to process it and populate a new contact book entry. Occasionally the app struggled to differentiate between titles and company names, however its character and number recognition capabilities are excellent. The app also allows you to dial, send a text or email a contact while viewing their card's image. The "lite" version retains a limited number of cards, a full version is available for $11.99." I like a new gadget, I do. So I downloaded the CamCard Lite version (saves three contacts in the first week and one per week thereafter) and set to work with my iPhone 3. Everyone who has an iPhone 3 knows the worst thing about this phone is its camera. Try as I might, I couldn't take a decent photo of a clean, clear, white background business card with my phone. One has to have the phone close enough to fill the screen with the card. The downside of this is that with the iPhone 3 it appeared to be too close to focus on the card. CamCard told me the text on the card was unrecognisable at every attempt I made. I was taking the images in clear light, too. So it's back to typing in contacts manually for me. I'd be interested in hearing from really truly users who have downloaded this app and are trying it on their smartphones. Drop me a line if you think it works just fine. Especially if you too have an iPhone 3!