Productively improving productivity

I had a good laugh at this article in Wired where Seth describes how the search for increased productivity can easily become a goal in itself, in fact dwarfing actually doing real work.  This snip tells it all:

When my fiance came home from work each evening, we’d ask each other how our respective days had gone. She’d describe the small frustrations and victories that punctuate office life. I’d say something along the lines of “Today I spent three and a half hours organizing my Google Bookmarks” or “You’d be amazed at what you can turn up if you play around with Google US Government Search.” Then we’d both laugh. It took a couple of weeks before I finally noticed the concern in her eyes. Then she asked: “What else did you do?”

That’s when I realized I wasn’t actually accomplishing anything. My campaign to increase productivity had become yet another distraction — and a significant one

It’s a big issue, sites like LifeHacker (and so many others) provide a constant stream of new tips and tools to improve your productivity, but they become an end in themselves.  Part of my job is to work through the hype and make recommendations to enterprises on how to improve personal productivity so I’m in an even worse situation,  I’m paid to try out all of this stuff. 

Still I have a real job as well so I have to work hard at finding balance, but tweaking is so much fun!

Within CSC we have recently been seeing a strong trend towards consumerization of IT with many tech savvy employees now pushing for control over their work IT, especially their desktop PCs, collaboration and personal productivity tools.  A few years ago these desktops were locked down business tools, now users are happily tweaking away and managing them themselves. 

Certainly they are happier – everyone likes control (at least when things are working) – but are they more effective?  Our current focus is on finding the sweet spot:

  1. Giving people enough control to allow them to innovate and tweak to suit their personality and skill level
  2. Making it easy to fix things when they go wrong, a bit of – protect people from themselves
  3. Making their environments transparently secure
  4. Making it easy to do the right thing, and find out what the “right thing is”

Hopefully avoiding Seth’s situation:

Thanks, Google. You’ve turned me into the most efficient time-waster ever

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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