Time Management Expert, Event Speaker: Mark Lamendola

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Time Tips: Technology

Put technology in its proper place, and use it purposefully. Most people do one of two things with technology:
  1. Limit themselves by not taking advantage of it, or
  2. Waste huge amounts of time treating technology as an end in itself, rather than as a means to greater productivity.

Let's address that second issue, first. No matter what technology tool you have, take the time to learn how to use it properly. Learn how to maintain it efficiently. Learn its limitations. Don't spend more time playing with the tool than it can save you.

For example, the Internet can provide huge time-savings in finding information. But merely browsing Websites can suck down hours. Using a cell phone to make and receive calls can greatly improve your productivity. But totaling out your car because you were trying to make a call in heavy traffic isn't a productive use of your time.

Take care, also, not to waste time with the "extras" of any given technology tool. For example, games on your computer and phone may be entertaining--but they can quickly take over your "spare" time.

Let's move on to that first point: not taking advantage of the technology available. Examples abound, and nearly all of them derive from either ignorance or fear.

Trying putting this on a job application, and see if you get hired: "I am ignorant and fearful." Here's another experiment. The next time you go to a social gathering of any sort, introduce yourself by saying, "Hi, there. I'm ignorant and fearful." The point here is that neither ignorance nor fear are desirable qualities. So, make a point of not succumbing to either one.

Computer example: Many people assemble tabular data in Microsoft Word. That's a misuse of the software. This kind of task, however, is ideal for Excel. But an ignorant or fearful person might say, "But I don't know how to use Excel." Well, if you can use Word then you can use Excel. Your problem is not Excel. Your problem is you are making yourself ignorant. Get over it and move on. Save enormous amounts of time by using the correct tool for the job is just the first of many benefits you will realize.

Phone example: Most phone features are a complete waste. But some are well-worth learning and using on a regular basis. Take the time to read through your phone manual and find the tools that can save you time. These go beyond simply auto-redial and other standard stuff.

Camera example: Everybody, it seems, has a digital camera these days. But what good is the camera if your photos are poorly composed, poorly focused, and so on? Take a photography course--these don't cost much. Or buy a book on photography. If you are allergic to reading, then get a video on photography.

To properly use technology, then, follow these tips:

  1. Assess what's out there. This is an ongoing process. Look past the hyperbole and at the specific things a device or software can do or that you can do better or faster with it.
  2. Note where a device or software might save you time.
  3. Evaluate the product to see what it actually does, and to get a feel for how and where you might use it.
  4. Assess your own processes, and think about whether the purchase is worth the time saved.
  5. Assess your other tools you already have. You want to avoid technology clutter. Can you adapt, upgrade, or replace something you already have? Factor this into the purchase decision. Too many gadgets, and you spawn a whole new set of problems.
  6. If the purchase makes sense, go through with it.
  7. Read the manual. Cover to cover. Twice. Then, read it again.
  8. Practice what you learned from the manual.



Do you want to radically improve how well people in your organization make use of the limited number of hours in each work day?

Contact me to arrange a time when we can talk about a presentation: mark@mindconnection.com. Why arrange a time? So I can give you full attention during the call. There's a really powerful time management tip. Ask me why it works.