When it comes to productivity, many business leaders feel technology has not always met their expectations, suggests productivity author, speaker and coach Dermot Crowley.
“The frustrating thing is the potential is real. Technology can make us more productive, and the good news is you probably have some of the best productivity technology at your fingertips already,” says Crowley.
Analyse your inventory and select which technologies are most important for your business. Decide on the technologies you use the most and seek answers to the following questions: What are my goals, vision and mission? Which technologies will improve efficiency the most?
Tech tools to save time
Let’s assume you’re using an email client such as MS Outlook, Lotus Notes or Gmail with calendars and task functions built in, and you’re using tools such as OneNote or Evernote on your PC, says Crowley. And, when you are away from your desk, you’re most likely using your smartphone and tablet devices to work anywhere you like.
“With all of these tools designed to help us to organise ourselves, why are we still so wedded to paper tools to manage our work?” asks Crowley. “Why do most people use an electronic calendar to manage their meeting schedule, but still revert to a paper list to remember what they need to do? Why do we still bring a paper notepad to meetings?”
It’s important to review what you’ve already implemented, and figure out how to work smarter with technology so you’re seeing a return on investment and staying up to date, he says.
Embracing change for the better
“I was working with a leadership team in a tech company recently, focusing on their use of OneNote to manage meeting notes. One of the managers was very wedded to her paper notepad, and proclaimed at the start of the session that she was unlikely to move away from it.
“Yet she had a tablet PC that actually allowed her to either type meeting notes into OneNote, or write them onto the screen using a hi-tech pen. Her rational was that when it came to capturing notes, it was easier to just bring a pen and paper.”
She was not wrong but she was missing out on the ability to search her notes across many meetings, or to schedule meeting actions straight into her task list and collaborate using shared notebooks in OneNote, says Crowley.
“Today I work in organisations where everyone uses an electronic calendar to manage their meetings. Yet, only 20% would use an electronic task list, or would use a tool like OneNote to manage meeting notes.”
These misjudgements would be avoided if everyone took the time to review their office IT structure and the tools the staff use every day, and start using the technology at people’s disposal, he says.