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Stop Working for Technology – Make it Work for You

| September 8, 2009

by Jim Bruce

The Tuesday Reading for today is Jeffrey Pfeffer’s piece, Stop Working for Technology – Make it Work for You which appeared in BNET’s The Corner Office on July 22, 2009.  Pfeffer is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Pfeffer’s point in this piece is simple and straight-forward:  For some, maybe most, of us our technology-enabled, always on, always interruptable, always available electronically status is at best not always helpful to us or to those around us.  It is disrespectful to those we are interacting with when our favorite technology beckons and we respond often without a word to whoever happen to be interacting with us at that moment.  It retards our learning and impeds task performance because it reduces our concentration and focus.  Pfeffer reports on a study that showed that just being notified of an incoming message, even if you ignore it, is disruptive.  

So what can you do?  Turn off your cell phone/iPhone/Blackberry (or at least set the alarm to “silent”), and do the same with your office phone when you don’t want to be interrupted.  Set aside time on your calendar to respond to email, to return phone calls, etc.  Institute office hours to accommodate those who want to do a low-tech physical drop-in.  In other words, take control of your technology so that it works for you.  I think you’ll find that it increases your focus and your productivity.


.  .  .  .  .    jim