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Is Technology Actually Making Us Less Productive?

June 9, 2017 3 Min Read Growth & Performance
Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.
Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D. Director-in-Charge, Technology Solutions

It has been really exciting to witness the emergence of widely-available technology tools over the past few years. We are now operating in an age of hyper-connectedness, with the ability to access information from anywhere at any time.

On the surface this seems like a great capability, since we are much more informed and aware than ever before. But it could also lead to a never-ending state of engagement. Examples of this include frequently checking and responding to emails, the constant flow of text and social media messages, and constantly keeping track of the latest news – local, regional, and global. The result is that we often don’t have enough time to fully digest and synthesize all the information we’re absorbing.

As many behavioral researchers have observed over the past few years, this onslaught of hyper connectivity and ongoing communications has led to increased levels of stress and agitation, a reduced focus on key issues and understanding root causes, and a reduction in real productivity!

There are some easy ways to remedy this situation from both the technological and the behavioral perspectives.

From a technological standpoint, select tools and configure features within each tool that could better manage information delivery. For example, configure Outlook to better organize email messages. Use reminders and checklists in Microsoft Office to help you manage your daily activities more efficiently. Leverage dashboards to summarize business-related data and highlight only those events that need to be addressed, helping you to better manage by exception.

From a behavioral standpoint, we all need to develop better skills to use these technologies in such a way that they don’t become all-consuming. Keep in mind, leading technology firms such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft employ highly sophisticated groups of scientists to design programs and interfaces that are optimized to keep us continuously using their tools, to the point that we almost become addicted to their features! A simple remedy is to manage your use of these technologies and your communications on a pre-determined periodic basis, rather than continuously. It’s a good practice to schedule check-in times – say, first thing in the morning, mid-day, and early and late afternoon – in order to better control the information flow rather than letting it control us.

Advances in communications and collaborative technologies are wonderful and should be embraced. We just need to be smart about which tools to use, how best to configure them for use, and how to control the extent to which we leverage them. Otherwise, these tools end up reducing our productivity instead of increasing it.

Sassan S. Hejazi, Kreischer Miller

Sassan S. Hejazi is a director with Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email.

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Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.

Sassan S. Hejazi, Ph.D.

Director-in-Charge, Technology Solutions

Manufacturing & Distribution Specialist, Technology Solutions Specialist, Digital Transformation Specialist, Cyber Advisory Specialist, Microsoft Cloud Specialist

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