Smartphone Era Productivity Article

I just completed a new copy of my ezine for Caribbean executives, FirstCuts, and I devoted this particular issue to the problem of smartphone un-productivity.

It signals the start of a new set of questions I’ll be asking — how best to combat the drop in productivity that’s occurring when people apply bad habits to the new smartphone technology.

I hope you find it an interesting read — it sure was a lot of fun to write!

Solving Some Nagging Issues with A Simulation Study

There are some time management issues that I have raised in my blog, and in my videos, that I believe can be answered using a digital simulation.

This diagnostic tool, which is taught in schools of operations research, is one that can be used to answer some of the specific conclusions I have drawn about time management systems.  (I just happen to have a Masters in the field, but the last time I designed a simulation was… let’s just say it was a long time ago!)

I have been looking at different programmes that can be used, and haven’t found a cost-effective tool that can be used to do some simple modelling.  Most of them are built for elaborate factory layouts and the like, but I’m looking to answer some simple questions such as:

  •  how much time can be saved using more scheduling and less listing?  At what number of time demands does it make sense to make the switch? (In 2Time it involves an upgrade from Yellow Belt Scheduling to Orange Belt Scheduling)
  • what’s the impact of a lot of email that’s stored in capture points for too long e.g. an email Inbox?  At what point does email volume require an upgrade in skills?
  • what happens when Acting Now is abused and we spend too much time pursuing certain time demands, disrupting our Emptying?
  • when work is interrupted by unwanted distractions, what’s the cost to a professional’s productivity?
  • what’s the impact of having instant access to email?

If you happen to know of any “lite” simulation tools floating around, please let me know!

There are lots of claims floating around about which time management techniques are better than others, and this is one way to make some general claims about which approaches are indeed an improvement, especially when the number of time demands increases, and new tools like smartphones become available.

I realize that at the end of the day everyone must use a personalized system that fits their habit pattern,  but that’s not to say that specific information about the habits we choose don’t have consequences. They do, and the more information we have about them, the better we can manage our own systems.


An Update from Jamaica

It’s been a while since I’ve posted due to one significant interruption — civil unrest here in Jamaica.

I won’t rehash the reasons why it’s happening, as the news reports have been doing a fairly good job of that.  But for those who might be wondering, I am fine and so are my friends and family.

It’s been a difficult time, and in Kingston we are still under a state of emergency, with curfews being imposed  in different parts of town, at undeclared times.

(If you are coming to Jamaica on vacation, don’t worry too much, as the hotels are on the other side of the island and have not been affected.)

It all reminds me of why I am interested in time management in the first place — it’s the kind of everyday “up and down” that I had to get used to when I returned to Jamaica that made me realize that the way I was managing my time would have to be upgraded.  (You can read my bio linked to the About page to find some more details on what particular story.)

I also realize that my latest point of focus — “Time Management in the Smartphone Era” — is also heavily influenced by being in Jamaica, simply because our cell phone adoption rate is one of the highest in the world.  I cannot think of a single person here in Jamaica who doesn’t have a cell phone, including the guy who wipes windshields at the traffic light for small change!

The high adoption rate has meant that I am exposed to companies whose entire executive teams are heavy Blackberry users, and are rapidly picking up the unproductive habits that I have mentioned on this site, and will expand on in future posts.

Stay tuned.