Monday, January 5, 2009

The ‘Distraction Virus’

Here’s yet another article about the negative effects of technology distractions on the workplace and society in general.

 

Some take aways:

“Training needs to include distraction coping mechanisms. Company training programs teach applications, and sometimes even productivity. But maybe it’s time to institute training programs that explicitly help people cope with online distractions.”

 

Couldn’t agree more. For example, most employees are simply ‘expected’ to know how to use emails. They are never trained or shown how to use it as a business tool. In most cases they don’t have time to learn how to use email programs like Outlook effectively so they simply use it in the most basic manner. This is hugely inefficient and takes a significant toll on the productivity of the business. With some simple training and guidance this can be easily overcome.

 

“Productivity means nothing if time gained is squandered”

 

You can save all the time in the world but if you spend that mindless surfing the web, YouTube, Facebook, blogs etc then it is a zero gain. The problem is that we have created technologies designed to distract and entice us away from our work and this trend is only going to increase.

 

“Think about the obesity problem. A century ago, America had the world’s healthiest population, tallest people and best food. Fast forward to today. The quality of food has declined as the quantity has increased. Now 60 percent of Americans are overweight, and a quarter clinically obese. And low-quality food is also making us shorter.”

 

This is very interesting analogy to what is happening on the Internet these days. The article talks about how the younger generation are being driven to distraction and likewise to under achievement. We are all feeding on a sugary diet of technology distraction that is causing us to waste our time mindlessly and fail to achieve our goals. Every day it is getting worse and the article laments the future, where like our diets, we have gorged ourselves beyond the point of no return.

 

Much like the growing obesity epidemic we now face a distraction epidemic that is ruining our productivity and our competitiveness. As the articles says:

 

“The individual, the company, the nation that is best at avoiding distractions in the future will have an enormous advantage in the competitive marketplace.”

I see the ‘distraction virus’ in so many businesses and most don’t even know they have it. For that reason I have created my
Smarter productivity and Do less emails products. Also don’t forget my free The problems with emails document and Overcoming email frustrations books to help comprehend and combat distractions.

 

Clearly, we need to start changing the way we use technology or we are going to pay the price.