July 30, 2017
How many devices do you own and what effect does it have on your productivity? Have you ever wondered about that Tablet you bought on a whim which is lying in a corner now and catching dust? Fear not my friend, you are not alone. Increasingly people around the world are buying more and more tech. More often than not a lot of it is bought on the premise of boosting productivity.
But is it really so? Can more tech really increase your productivity? Let’s delve a little deeper and try to answer this.
If you have a separate device for replying to email, for video editing, gaming etc. it can often be beneficial. Take the following example into consideration:
“Every time you want to game you have to fire up your console, so you have to make a conscious effort to do that and instead of wasting time playing a game on your primary machine you end up working better on it.”
If you have different devices allotted for different tasks it would lead to better output. As an example if you use Facebook for official communication you would often end up browsing your newsfeed instead of getting real stuff done. But if you use something like Skype to do the same you won’t get distracted that much. Hence more tech/software can often lead to better compartmentalization of tasks and lead to enhanced productivity.
Decreases Communication Costs But Increases Junk
Let’s talk about Metcalfe's law. It states that the value of a network increases with the square number of users. If you have thousands of mobile phones working independently then they are good but if all are interlinked via something like Internet then it’s excellent. Because each and every device is now connected we often have too much junk to process. This is the dark side of Metcalfe’s law.
As the cost of communication has come down it has become very easy to contact anyone. Instant messaging, email, Skype and Facebook, and more. Hence, it has become very easy to contact people. And yet at the same time the amount of junk has increased by magnanimous proportions which leads to serious loss of productivity.
Loss of Focus
As the amount of tech/software that you have to deal with increases, you tend to lose focus. Consider this, you are a video editor at a firm which needs three videos delivered per day and you are expected to keep them crisp and artsy. But your phone just doesn’t stop buzzing throughout the day and due to the fear of missing out you end up checking it all the time.
So instead of focusing on the screen in front of you, you are pulled into the loud cacophony of social apps, jokes from friends and what not. And by the time you realize what happened the day is finished.
This is one of the dark aspects of having more techs in your life. Sometimes having a single device for work and keeping other tech/software at bay helps to get more work done in short spans of time.
Sometimes No Tech Is the Answer
Why would a tech site suggest something so outrageous to tech lovers? The truth is that many of our activities and workflows are yet not designed to absorb new tech and till we let go of our old habits and ways of communication it would be impossible to get stuff done with newer and more technology.
For example, still to this date a lot of administrative workplaces and government offices are devoid of tech. Their processes are yet not digitalized and for them, more tech is not the solution.
So what we gather from all of the above points is that rise in technology has indeed boosted several aspects of our productivity. But at the same time it comes with a hidden cost as our processes and behaviors are not yet changed to match the fast paced tech innovation. Most of the time we are left with a lot of tech to deal with and a mindset that’s not ready for the break neck pace.
Evaluate the Impact
The solution is to have documented change with each new piece of tech or software that’s incorporated in your workflow that should be inspected for its overall impact. Does buying a new tablet lessen the amount of time you need to reply to your mails while on your daily commute to work? If yes, then buy it. Same would apply for every piece of tech that you wish to add to your workplace or personal life to increase efficiency.
Read more about increasing productivity at TechCo
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