Friday, April 27, 2012

Does Technology + Office = Productivity?

(Stuart Isett via The New York Times)

An office is a place for work.  Work is defined as an activity of mental/physical effort to produce a result.  Let's assume that our office is place of productivity. While the evolution of technology has greatly influenced the workplace, is it fair to assume that it's also increased our productivity there?  Or are we overrun with technological advances that leave us catching up to where we'd like to be?

I believe that a clear mind and a clear space are equally as beneficial to an organized lifestyle.  And technology, while proving to be organizationally effective and efficient in many ways, can also create mental clutter.  Sometimes, it's best to turn off the machine and go back to a slower pace in the workspace, if only for a few minutes.

David Allen wrote an interesting article in the NY Times about technology overwhelming an office. He mentions common complaints such as too many emails, meetings or new responsibilities brought on by technological progress to get any 'real' work done.  He challenges us is to find out "how to participate productively in this new and turbulent world and not be paralyzed by it."

Allen outlines 5 steps to enable yourself to be "present and able to trust your inner wisdom", ie- ways to slow down, define what's important and maximize your time and, therefore, productivity.  Those 5 steps are: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Review and Deploy your Attention Appropriately.  And he encourages doing all of this by grabbing a pen and paper and simply making a list.

I agree with the need to assess one's productivity and entertain the idea of looking beyond a computer screen.  In fact, I often use post-its to scribble down notes or ideas.  I guess it's my 'offline' way of evaluating my work, both what I've accomplished and what I've left to do.

So tell me, Appleshiners, does office technology ever slow down your productivity?

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