#FocusFriday: Reframing Productivity

by: David Sable,  Global CEO, Y&R

I carry five different devices. I work off multiple platforms, software tools and social networks.  And I have every Wi-Fi hotspot option available…

Damn – I must be productive!

Or not.

The truth – none of the above really defines productivity. What it defines is the use of technology in search of productivity.

So how do we really maximize productivity? New technologies certainly help improve rates of efficiency — allowing for more tweets per second, emails per minute, meetings per day, trips per week, work per month…and supposedly more productivity per year. Bottom line it is a world of per per per.

We schedule, confirm, and share from more devices and with more people. The boundary between office hours and personal time that was already eroding has completely disappeared because we can — and in fact are expected to connect always.

Wi-Fi is simply, Wi-not?

So do we capitalize on productivity by increasing the number of devices, social platforms and meetings simply because we can?

Just like most businesses never mandate the type of pens or notebooks people carry, perhaps we should pay attention to a recent UK survey showed that businesses that let employees use their own technology see productivity increases of up to 30%.

Or maybe, it’s time to take a step back and re-think just what we are trying to accomplish.  A USA Today column recently cited increasing evidence that more tools lead to diminished rather than enhanced productivity.

Be honest — and think about your own behavior….

The email you wish you hadn’t sent. The report you didn’t fully understand. The nuance of a message that was lost…all because you didn’t spend the time to fully digest the impact…

So while we can find any number of people arguing for or against the use of more technology to drive productivity, I think it’s time to reframe the discussion.

Productivity comes with clarity. Being simple and engaging is how you connect. Making connections allows you to get things done.

To me it’s pretty simple – you master productivity when you understand that the skills you apply to human interaction are the same skills you need to apply to the way you use technology.

Intuition, empathy, and face-to-face conversational nuances are still meaningful in the way we connect today…maybe even more so as we try to break through.

What gets people excited or enraged, engaged or disinterested is true over email, text message or video chat. Know that The Message is the Message…By the way, a pillar of Facebook’s technology platform…

That will keep people interested in what you have to say, engaged in what you have to get done and ultimately instrumental in helping you cross things off your list.

In fact I would argue strongly — it will keep off your list the recall messages, the frantic apologies, the scramble to find lost emails, the tweet you wish you hadn’t sent…you get the picture.

Let me end by sharing some news from Google about their new Think Quarterly targeted towards top executives. Guess what? The fully digital guru is actually sending select key important executives a hard-printed copy of their content. Why: “The public is facing a digital data tsunami” and so Google is inviting its clients “to a data slow dance.”

Think about this, in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In a world of sensory overload, try to be an island of calm. You will get a lot more done.


Follow David Sable on Twitter, or read his blog at www.WeeklyRamble.com

The content shared in this blog post is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox.  #FocusFriday is a weekly conversation helping people with productivity in the office.  Posts can be at the same time fun and serious, in the spirit of the Xerox’s Business of Your Brain app, yet always focused on what matters most, Real Business.

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  1. Candace Nahrgang August 5, 2011 - Reply

    I enjoyed reading David Sabel’s thoughts.

    We should all “try to be an island of calm.”

    Good points made David.

    Candace Nahrgang

  2. Adina Hagege August 7, 2011 - Reply

    It seems so obvious, and yet I certainly paused, embarrassed, as I read David’s “punchline. It’s like the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. It might be terribly efficient to be “always on” and available in (at least) 5 different medium and devices. But it is most definitely not effective.

    As always, words of wisdom from David that will resonate for a while.

  3. Twitted by HomaMasood August 18, 2011 - Reply

    […] This post was Twitted by HomaMasood […]

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