Maintaining Your Focus: The Costs of Tech Distractions

Published by: Scott Schoeneberger

As the old adage goes, time = money. Most of us also view time as our most valuable commodity. So wasted time is something that everyone can agree upon minimizing. Technology has always been a great enabler of efficiency. The tools we create are all aimed at making our lives easier and our speed to delivery faster.  But sometimes these tools become a major distraction.

When things don’t work as we expect them to, or when we aren’t clear on how to operate devices, we generally spend valuable time trying to determine why. Ultimately that trial and error discovery process is how we learn, but there is a time and place for that process.

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We’ve all been in that meeting. The one where the conference room tech wasn’t working right. It may have been the system, or it could be a new user unfamiliar with how things work. Either way, the technology became a distraction.

Generally how this plays out is that someone will attempt to get things operational. More than likely someone else jumps in to assist. By now the rest of the participants are chatting with one another waiting for things to get going. The real problem in these situations is the wasted time. It’s not just the person attempting to correct things. It’s multiplicative. If you have five people in the meeting with you, and spent the first 15 minutes getting connected, that’s six participants x 15 minutes for a full 90 minutes wasted. An hour and a half for a 15 minute distraction. Aside from the actual costs of having bodies in seats, you start to incur opportunity costs. What could that time have net if applied to focused work?

There are a few ideas at play here. The first being that the system didn’t function as it was intended to. The second is that the user may not have been trained properly on the technology, or there wasn’t proper system documentation available. The third is that the system wasn’t built to be intuitive enough for its common users. Interestingly enough, each of these can be alleviated with a proper maintenance program.

Check in next week to discover how a maintenance program alleviates these issues.

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