Thank goodness for technology. Without our precious devices — from our CPUs to our smartphones — few of us would ever be able to get anything done. Yet, used improperly, our tech has the tendency to slow us down rather than help us out.
In the fast-paced digital age of business, when time equals money more than ever before, low productivity can directly correlate to low profits, so detrimental tech habits should be quelled as quickly as possible. In the interest of keeping your timetables tight, here are the six most common tech timewasters.
1. Unlimited Opportunity
At work, you could have any number of excellent electronic devices: tablets, laptops, desktops, music players, smartphones, e-readers, etc. etc. Yet, only one or two will truly help you work, and all of the others are merely distractions.
Using multiple devices for multiple activities — or even multitasking on a single device — is well-known to be a productivity buster; the brain cannot efficiently switch between tools and tasks, and concentration and retention plummet when it is forced to complete more than one job at a time.
Worse, the flexibility of your devices allows you to mix work and play, and your brain may not be able to focus wholly on your job responsibilities when entertaining sites and apps are available from the same tech.
2. Unstructured Processes
You likely share similar (if not the same) tasks with some of your coworkers, but if your company lacks a concrete process structure, you, your coworkers, and your supervisors are wasting time. Tasks can be as simple as time reporting or as complex as creative brainstorming. Technology is variable enough to provide hundreds of possible paths for any activity you and your team may complete. Thus, you should develop tried-and-true methods for everyone to use to ensure projects get competed in the same way, in the same amount of time.
Of course, structured processes can impeded productivity from the other end as well. Too much bureaucracy and red tape is never helpful in a working environment. You should be careful that whatever processes you construct aid and never obstruct productivity.
3. Disorganized Reporting
Today’s big business is all about Big Data, and you likely create and review dozens of reports every day in order to improve your products, marketing strategy, customer service, and more.
Yet, if these reports come in all different formats, not only does your work appear unprofessional, but you slow down the creation and analysis of your reports, as well. Once again, the variability of your technology is preventing you from being as productive as possible.
You can create and disseminate templates to help your team produce more cohesive reports, but a more brilliant solution is to make your technology work for you. Some software developers offer reporting solutions that compile data and generate reports quickly and easily for utmost productivity.
4. Unregulated Admin Duties
Administration is the bane of every worker — even those in administrative positions. Admin duties, like typing notes, updating the CRM, and organizing documents, are generally necessary but they usually require quite a bit of time to complete, and that time would be much better spent on pursuits that directly impact a company’s profits. Every worker should have access to essential administrative tech, including software for time tracking, scheduling, budget reporting, and more.
5. Opposition to Change
Then again, it might be the technology you lack that is slowing you down. It may seem too expensive to scrap the old devices every time the industry improves, but if you find that you or your company is years behind the cutting-edge tech, you may be losing out on productivity, which is just as financially costly — if not more so.
Just as the printing press saved medieval monks decades of concerted effort, certain modern devices and software can shave hours off your workday. Instead of fearing new technology, you should investigate to see whether new tech is right for your job.
6. Undefined Goal Setting
“Goal” is one of the oldest buzzwords in American business, yet a large majority of American workers lack concrete goals — or at least a way to keep track of them. When you were hired, you were likely asked about your career goals. Then, at your one-year review, you were asked about your goals again. Aside from these infrequent inquiries, most employees spend the day distracted by their devices without considering their career trajectory, and this lack of motivation can slowly eat away at productivity.
You should collaborate with your coworkers to generate definite goals that will inspire everyone to push his or her productivity higher. With clear goals, technology will be used more efficiently, and enthusiasm will soar.