I recently wrote a Computerworld Column about Email Overload.
I'm a data oriented guy and was curious to learn detailed statistics about my own Blackberry use.
A found a great Blackberry application called "I Love Blackberry" from EarlySail.
Here's my Blackberry statistics:
Average Daily - 111 Times for 2 hours 24 minutes divided as 86 times for 1 hour 34 minutes during work hours and 25 times for 50 minutes outside of work hours.
Average Weekly - 482 Times for 9 hours 31 minutes divided as 431 times for 7 hours 50 minutes during work hours and 51 times for 1 hour 40 minutes outside of work hours.
This means that I spend approximately 20% of my work time doing Blackberry communications. A startling statistic.
Between work time, home time and driving time email has added 20-25% more work to my week. I am more productive, and resolve issues sooner, and I can run organizations remotely. The EarlySail applications provides great insight into the time and effort cost of maintaining this level of connectedness.
We are constantly making more data and metrics. We are collecting more and more of that data. Each one of us is becoming a baseball player, generating reams of data for statistical crunching later.
Some of that crunching is just amusing. Some of it is truly meaningful.
We are capturing more of that information in everything we do, including healthcare. Right now it's at its infancy, but as more and more applications and devices that come out that collect that data, aggregate and analyse, we'll find out the same things about ourselves as you found out about your email.
Will it be useful in the long run? I would like to think so. We run the risk of information overload and making it all turn into white noise. But I see us trending toward "more information, better ways to express it so it's not overwhelming."
We will all use and become sensors to better understand and react to the world around us.
I think a key skill that many people still lack is a methodology to organize, categorize, and act upon the vast reams of data we receive on a daily basis.
I found the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen to be one of the most practically minded with regard to making the connection between information,
decision and action.
Thanks for your post on how new technology can generate valuable data -- data that can enable us to assess our productivity, and ultimately improve it. It brought to mind a personal example, and one relating to business.
First, the personal. When switching mobile phone plans recently, I was about ready to simply choose the unlimited minute and text message plan. I had exceeded limits in the distant past and the resulting phone bill was downright frightening.
On a whim, I decided to call my provider and get stats of my use over the past year to determine an accurate picture of my phone and text use. Turns out I didn’t need unlimited plans, and I ended up saving a bit of money. I felt like a genius.
Now, for the business. Your post also brought to mind an article I read recently in Forbes by Cisco VP of enterprise Alan Cohen. In the piece, he discussed how work has changed, from “local to global, from centralized to decentralized.” He mentioned the significant investment in transaction systems, including ERP and e-mail, in the past decade to reduce business costs and redundancy. But those systems have had their run, he argued, and now it’s time for innovation and productivity to come from people themselves.
But if companies do not enable their employees to harness that productivity – by not allowing telecommuting, by blocking social media applications, by failing to offer support for the software they need to get their jobs done – innovation and productivity gains will be scarce.
In my business, outsourced software support, we wrangle with this issue often. When the economy is ailing, one of the first areas to be cut is software support. And many companies fall behind when it comes to offering support for BlackBerry and other mobile devices. They cannot see the cause and effect — that employees can only be as productive as you enable them to be. If they are working remotely and cannot synchronize mail, what good is the investment in mobile? If their VPN connection continually fails, how productive will they be?
Using data from apps like EarlySail allows us to see the usefulness (or, in some cases, time-wasting capabilities) of mobile devices. Now if only every CIO would listen, and maybe take some action.
I thought our General Counsel had the best insight regarding the BlackBerry and productivity. He asserts that a BlackBerry only makes him more productive if he is the only one that has one.
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