How does technology affect your productivity?
Despite my thirty-five years of consulting, coaching, and training in hundreds of organizations, I don’t have an easy answer to that question. The digital tools we need and like require more intensive labor than they should. It would be great to have a digital dashboard that integrated all apps, allowed you to manipulate information in a single location, and then sent the revised data back to its original location. And all upgrades would happen automatically! Doubtful, in my lifetime.
In the meantime, we have to make the tools we have work as best we can. Imagine your workspace is like your kitchen, with tons of different gadgets and tools that serve different purposes. You can gain a lot of clarity just by making sure you regularly clean and organize your kitchen (and digital ecosystem). You can go a step further by discarding out-of-date hardware (and software)—to keep your “cockpit” streamlined.
The digital revolution
The digital revolution didn’t necessarily make work simpler; it just speeded up processes and introduced a zillion creative options. And its tools require constant upgrading.
Keeping all of that straight in your own life is challenging enough. But when you add to that the technologies that teams and organizations incorporate to try to become more productive, which you may be required to use, frustration can dramatically increase.
Problems with shared technology usually arise because (1) the formulas and protocols about how to use the applications are not well defined, and/or (2) not everyone plays appropriately, so the data is incomplete or unreliable. This is particularly true with shared software for project status tracking. And if the system is not 100% trustworthy, it doesn’t serve you well or save you time. Same goes for the team and the organization.
Staying on top of your workflow
To stay on top of this game you need to integrate the GTD methodology so you appropriately engage with all potentially meaningful inputs in your life, and learn how to use your digital implements like a master chef. And find some savvy twelve-year-old to be your digital consultant! If you can get all that on “cruise control,” you’ll recognize it’s a great time to be alive.
This essay appeared in David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter. Subscribe for free here.