Slack. Google Docs. SharePoint. Dropbox. Add in calls, texts, emails and any of the other dozens of possible collaboration tools available today, and even the most mindful can be fraught with anxiety. In reality, we – the world of business and technology – got what we asked for. No more playing phone tag with remote workers, a reduction in trite emails and always-updated documents living in the Cloud safe from the accidental deletion or a computer crash. However, while we have achieved a state of hyper-collaboration, an era of hyper-distractions has made a hypocrisy of our efforts. In trying to reduce the number of emails and voicemail’s we receive, we’ve inadvertently created a world where notifications are a non-stop whirlwind. Bing! New Slack message. Bing! Someone just added a new document to Dropbox. Bing! James in Boston wants to Skype. I’m dizzy – how about you?

Many of us can’t fight the instant gratification urge of opening up a notification right away (see: Marshmallow Test). Not only is this anxiety inducing, but it also begs the question of when are people getting real work done? Stephen Covey says, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” In a world of constant notifications, it can be challenging to do anything but what is urgent. Without disparaging any particular tool, the answer can be simple – practice The Goldilocks Method.

While this is far from a scientific method, we might be able to learn something from our fair-haired friend. Sticking to the Goldilocks theme, let’s explore three different possibilities (with one, of course, being “just right”):

Visibility is absolutely key to success, and the quicker we can access the right person or document at the right time, even better. However, reducing the craving for too much collaboration ensures we are focusing on completing tasks that are driving true business value. A good rule of thumb – if it takes you two minutes or less to respond to a request, go ahead and do it, but if it’s going to take any longer, add it to your to-do list. Let’s make 2018 the year of more work and less distractions!