I got a hold of an amazing report from www.harmon.ie the other day that took a fairly extensive look at the biggest challenge that I face in every given day…”How Collaboration & Social Tools Drain Productivity” (unfortunately, registration is required to gain access to the report. I make reference to the finite amount of time that we have to get all the things we need to do in a given day and I break it all down into the number of minutes that I have to get all of that accomplished.
My work pays me for 480 minutes of effort, that is what my salary, bonuses and other metrics are based on. I tend to work longer than that measured time both at home with activities like this blog but also through other activities. I am in the office daily at 7:30 AM (or earlier) and often remain at the office until 6:00 PM, I rarely take a lunch so the reality is I am working for an average of 590 minutes but measured on 480. This has been a tactical advantage for me as the extra 110 minutes that I add to my day allows me to either focus on true extra activities or to prepare for the things that would distract me from my actual duties.
As a Technical Sales Professional I feel the constant pull from peers, management and other sources to be placed onto special projects or to answer questions in the moment. I rarely say no but these direct distractions often take me away from the work I am paid for by about 60 minutes per day so I need to have that “cushion” built into my work schedule.
The report puts a dollar figure of about $10,000 per employee that is lost each year per employee that can be directly attributed to distractions, and for most people, my experience tells me that they don’t in any way attempt to make up for this “lost time”. The 1 hour per day that I lose, is right on par with the findings of the report and if I was to push that out across the company that I work for (and how easily most people do get distracted) I would say that a productivity loss of $100,000 would be a fair assessment.
I have been told many times, most recently in my last performance review that I am far to analytical and need to stop breaking things down into its lowest common denominator but the fact is, knowing how to manipulate time like I can…I am finding a true balance between work and home. Knowing that 590 minutes of my day is committed to my work, 40 minutes to transit and 300-400 minutes for sleep and 75 minutes for my “blogging activities” I know that in my 24 hour day I have 335 minutes for “family time” that is just over 5.5 hours 5 days per week.
But the distractions actually spill over into that family time too. My iPad has seen to that. I answer emails at 11:30 PM, Tweet interesting findings through out the night and well I set a personal best in Bejewelled Blitz last week when I finally broke the 1,000,000 mark. The reality is, I am addicted to my online life. As the report calls it “Online Compulsive Disorder”. The digital connections that I have made are nearly impossible to turn off or get away from. Personally I think I manage things fairly well but when I take a step back and look at things objectively, while enjoying family time together we do so watching TV, while my 12 year old daughter is BBMing her friends and my wife is on her laptop chatting to Facebook Friends and I am there doing what I do with my iPad, Kindle, Smart Phone and at times a laptop.
Boy it is tough to say that technology is a bad thing…I love Tech…it has made me what I am but at the same time…I think it is time to find another activity…a hobby and a sport or two…bicycle shopping tomorrow might be in order so that we can take 60 minutes per day and connect while touring through the city and getting healthy…yeah, time for a lifestyle change.
Chris J Powell