Can technology actually sabotage productivity?

May 2, 2018
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Technology is a beautiful thing. Email, text, IM, apps, CRM’s are all great resources we need to utilize in today’s work environment and our personal lives. But does it really make our jobs/lives easier and make us more efficient? Let’s look at how technology can actually kill our productivity if it’s not used correctly.

Smartphones are a good start. We all have one and what was strictly used in the work environment to place business calls has now become an attention suck. While so many apps are designed to help us speed up productivity, there are many that take us away from what we are supposed to be doing. Take Instagram for example. If used right it is a wonderful marketing tool, but many of us fall into the rabbit hole of scrolling through the feed, getting caught up with what Brenda is eating for lunch or analyzing Bill’s vacation selfie to see if he is in Italy or on Catalina Island. Waste of precious time.

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How about instant messaging in the office? It sounds like a great idea on paper, the faster you can tell a colleague something without having to walk across the room the quicker the job will get done, right? But you can’t see what they are currently in the middle of. What if they are writing a contract and they are interrupted by your message? They may possibly make a crucial error. This also opens up the capability for employees to “chat” with one another about non-work related issues on the company dime, a productivity nightmare.

And speaking of interruptions, what about the various ways we are notified? We’ve all gotten used to having voicemail. 30 years ago if you were away from your desk you would come back to sticky notes all over the place outlining what calls you missed. This was replaced with voicemail. Now there is a vast array of ways you can be contacted. Voicemail, email, text, Skype or even messaging in social apps. This creates a mountain of communications that you have to listen to, read, check back on and follow up with. The more ways we can be contacted, the more we have to sift through. No wonder time flies and we seem to get nothing done.

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Here are some tips to improve your productivity around technology:

1. Have set times during the day when you check your e-mails and messages.

2. When working on your laptop, you should consider going full screen. This will help you keep all unnecessary programs out of sight, lowering your chances to be distracted.

3. Just as I advised you to turn off the notifications from your e-mail, the same goes for your apps. Any app notifications can definitely wait until the end of the work day.

4. Wherever you work, always maintain a clean work space. Unchecked clutter can be very distracting, let alone the amount of time wasted trying to find anything of value in the middle of that mess.

5. Another important time management trick is to schedule your day. Set your priorities straight and figure out what activities you’re doing just to feel busy and what activities you’re doing that actually have value. This distinction is integral if you want to make the most of your time. Ask yourself the following question at the beginning of each work day:

What’s the one thing, if you were to do it for the entire day, that would give the strongest sense of accomplishment?

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