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Productivity_Nov14_CThe word ‘instant’ can be defined as happening immediately, and is a catchword of the modern world, all around us, from instant rice to instant noodles and instant printing, the list goes on. This concept, while not new, has arguably been taken to extremes thanks to the abundance of technology. This is a two-faced issue, for while it’s great to see the results of the latest election without delay, this expectation has changed how we interact.

This insatiable need for the ‘instant’ has arguably led to a decrease in the overall attention span of many people. We no longer focus on one thing and are constantly multi-tasking. Think of the last time you went out for a team lunch, what was the conversation like? More than likely you were sat around a table, talking for about five minutes before almost everyone resorted to looking at their phones, while kind of listening. Beyond that, think of the last time you had to wait for something, anything. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably mumbled some comment or question as to why it was taking so long.

This instant, multitasking, relatively impatient lifestyle has started to really affect many us in negative ways. For example, looking at a forum post with over three pages of entries, most people will read the first few visible posts and then skip to the end and read the last post. If the post contains lots of text, most people bust out the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) and skip most of the information, potentially missing the most important parts.

If this was on an important sales contract and you skipped over the section that detailed how your company would be compensated because you just didn’t have the time or patience to read it, you could irreparably harm your business, simply because you didn’t feel like reading a few extra paragraphs.

Before you go throwing the computer out the window – many businesses simply can’t afford to get rid of it, or can’t operate without it – you should take a step back and track how you utilize technology in your daily life. Look for gadgets, devices and even websites that distract you and take steps to decrease their use. Using a timer with a set amount of time during which you concentrate on work, and another with a smaller amount of time for breaks could be a real big help.

There are thousands of other ways you can increase your productivity, regardless of your reliance on technology. Which do you find work for you? Let us know.

Published on 15th November 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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