There is no doubt technology can help vastly increase our productivity, but, many are now realising that as well as being a help, modern technology can be a hindrance.
How Technology has Harmed Our Productivity
- Text messages going off distract us from work. It estimated text messages took 0.5% off GDP in the US.
- Writing text messages can reduce your IQ more than smoking cannabis. [link]
- Always on call. Mobile phone, instant chat.
- Multitasking. Modern technology means we try to do several things at once. Two computers open at once.
- Emails create a proliferation of messages – additional problems.
- Reduced attention span. The internet has given us quantity rather than quality. The analogy is a getting a glass of water from Niagara falls. Because there is so much more information, we try to skim through 100s of pages, rather than read 1 carefully – See Has Google made us stupid? article in Atlantic about reduced attention spans of the modern reader.
Of course, this ignores how technology has improved our productivity. It is as unbalanced view. But, the important thing is that just because modern technology can improve productivity doesn’t mean it always will. We have to manage modern technology so we control it, rather than the other way round.
How To Make Technology work for Us
- Don’t encourage endless email conversations about Tom, Dick and Harry.
- Don’t encourage text message conversations unless very helpful.
- Be able to switch your mobile phone off.
- Be able to concentrate on one task at once. Switch off email auto updates. Work on one browser and one computer at once.
- Whatever you do, put your whole focus on it.
- Be able to switch off your computer. Leaving a computer on for 15 hours a day, doesn’t necessarily make you more productive. There are definitely diminishing returns. When I gain internet access, I have a target to achieve certain tasks, and then be able to switch it off. This is a better approach than just spending 15 hours a day surfing internet to fill up time.