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As with many tools, PDAs have the potential to increase efficiency and productivity. However, if not properly managed they also have the potential to waste your time. To ensure that you remain the master of your tools, and not the other way around, here are some tips:
Turning off your PDA before a meeting starts and keeping it out of sight throughout the meeting shows respect for meeting organizers and helps you to avoid annoying your colleagues.
If you are waiting for an urgent call or e-mail, inform your colleague, client, or meeting organizer in advance that you may have to excuse yourself for a moment to attend to an urgent matter.
When having a one-on-one conference or sitting in a meeting or at a restaurant, do not put the PDA on the table or check it in the middle of a conversation—it gives the impression that the PDA is more important than the subject, and person, at hand.
When you need to type a message, excuse yourself and find a private place to do it.
Set the ring tone volume only as high as you absolutely need, and avoid ring themes that are lengthy or annoying.
Turn all ring tones off when the lights go down when you’re in a meeting, at the movies, at a concert, or at any other a public event.
Decide when you are going to turn off your PDA so that you can focus on your work, family, hobby, etc., and then be sure to leave it off.
Never text while driving. Never check or read e-mail while driving. Never search your address book for contacts while driving. The consequences could be devastating—and not just for you.
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.