How much time are you wasting because of inadequate technology or lack of technical training? I became keenly aware of this with a nearly four-year-old laptop that became painfully slow and didn’t play nicely with anything. The dreaded hourglass caused a great deal of “colorful language” muttered beneath my breath. I delayed the purchase of a new laptop to defer the expense until I could no longer tolerate how much time I was wasting just to complete simple projects. Plus my husband couldn’t stand my mutterings anymore.

Workers struggle with outdated software, wasting time in creating workarounds. Recipients of emails from other companies have to ask for a resend of the document saved to an earlier version of Office because they’re several versions behind and can’t open the attachment. That’s a time waster for both the sender and the recipient.

Sometimes software is designed for great record keeping but has a productivity drain on people down the line because there’s so much more inputting. Are you looking at the entire work flow? Where is the time of your sales people better spent—out on the floor selling or in a back room inputting data?

How about training? Frequently new equipment or software is purchased with no training offered to the team. The attitude is “figure it out on your own.” What a waste of time to have people stumbling around with online help or calling your tech people who are already overloaded.

Our businesses are dependent on technology. Make sure you’re asking the right questions when you look at your equipment and software needs. Too often we delay the expense without asking what it’s costing us in lost productivity and revenue by not upgrading and getting our teams properly trained.

(What’s your biggest technology frustration? Post a comment.)

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5 Responses to “Technology Time Wasters”

John Marquette January 30, 2011

There’s a reason Apple is selling more computers and the most popular smartphone: they design their devices with users in mind. This is not praise of Apple as a corporation; my belief is that Apple distinguishes itself as a design house.

No wonder you were having problems – you were experiencing design-by-committee. Too often unfocused committees accomplish nothing, or worse than nothing. Microsoft pushed another version of Windows out quickly after they released Vista because of the inherent problems.

What that means to me is that sometimes it’s important to retain creative control. We can’t accomplish everything by consensus or committee. Some core goals have to be focused. A small team may work better, but it may need more iterations and tests to ensure the group product meets the wider need. I submit that Microsoft didn’t accomplish that with Vista. It took more time to get with Windows 7 where Apple landed much earlier with their operating system.

What this all means to me is that it’s important to pick good tools and set achievable goals. Apple keeps their product quiet until they’re ready to release. Sometimes that might work for us as we accomplish what we set out to do.

Marilyn Clint January 31, 2011

Our biggest problem is lack of training. In a small nonprofit with limited resources, we’re at the mercy of some pretty tired equipment. Hardware and software upgrades come slowly, and the constant turnover of staff and employment of seasonal folks and interns makes training a real challenge.

Still, I’m amazed at how much people *don’t* know about how to effectively use today’s technology. The 40-ish folks are at the biggest disadvantage. Thank goodness we have a nearly full-time volunteer who manages our IT and website, plus an energetic young staffer to take care of our social media. And thank goodness I’ve been blogging for as long as I have, and I’m not afraid of trying new things.

bburatti February 3, 2011

You make a good point Marilyn about the generational differences in using technology. There are now 3 generations working side by side in the work environment, with some of the oldest workers feeling very lost. Success now means being a life-long learner and having the flexibility to change and adapt.

bburatti February 3, 2011

The people at Apple are simply geniuses. Every product is a game changer. And intuitive. I appreciate that so much!

John Marquette February 5, 2011

So how does one create a lifelong learner? More importantly, how was one become a lifelong learner?

I believe you can’t stop, not for a moment. It is simply too difficult to catch up these days. Losing one introduction to a social media application … that puts someone like me on the critical list.

When I worked at the library and did technology training, it was easy to see in an intro-to-internet class what I needed to be learning by seeing where I saw my students struggling. For example, in the days of internet mapping (i.e., MapQuest), getting directions was not as important as … seeing where you lived. It’s one thing to plot the rights and the lefts of traveling. It’s wholly different to see where you live in relation to the library where you’re taking your class. Suddenly two rights and a left make sense!

Training and retraining is not so much about what buttons to push as it is about providing a context for the buttons as well as a reason to push them.