E-mail and cellphones help us multitask, but they also drive us to distraction.
How much of your day has been wasted doing email today?
A huge media trend "under the radar" is the widespread misuse of email. Sure, it's important. It's addictive. It makes us feel connected and on-top-of-things. It gives the impression "we're on it" and "we're getting the job done". In fact, it often generates a high cost on productivity simply because it interrupts so much.
This week's Time magazine has a terrific article on the impact today's electronic gadgetry has on our ability to focus on tasks effectively. Everyone multi-tasks to get the job done. But to many, the reliance on emails can drive multi-taskers to distraction, wasting time and money...and, more importantly, the ability to stay on the right task and focus.
If you are a typical emailing American, you may be spending 2 hours a day sorting through, reading, filing, writing and sending emails every work day. That's 2 hours a day that formerly might have been spent doing other tasks, such as thinking, planning, prioritizing or simply doing expected job assignments and functions. Chance are your job description doesn't list email communications (including the interruptions they create) among your job's responsibilities. But you respond to your email anyway. What's the cost on business productivity?
Measuring just workers classified as "knowledge workers" (those who handle information, making them the busiest of emailers at work), the Time article reports Basex -- an information-technology research firm in New York City -- found in a study of 1,000 officeworkers from top managers on down that interruptions now consume an average of 2.1 hours a day, or 28% of the workday. The two hours of lost productivity included not only unimportant interruptions and distractions but also the recovery time associated with getting back on task, according to their report titled "The Cost of Not Paying Attention". Their calculated workplace interruption cost for the U.S. economy? $588 billion a year.
The stress you are feeling everyday after a long day may be due to one thing: how much you let your email control you instead of maintaining priority control over your email. A simple decision of staying on task till the task is completed may help you reduce stress loads and increase job performance.
full Time article
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, January 11, 2006,