Prevent Technological Takeover, By Laura Stack MBA, CSP

laura-stack4Does technology improve human productivity? Undoubtedly. But if we don’t use technology wisely, it can make us less productive rather than more so. Here are some ideas to use technology efficiently and avoid being overtaken by the daily deluge of information.

Use voice mail to increase efficiency. If you need uninterrupted time to finish an important project, voice mail allows you to identify who’s calling and temporarily screen out less urgent calls. If you’re in a hurry, leaving a voice mail message will let you avoid lengthy conversations punctuated by the usual social niceties.

Don’t lose the personal touch with your contacts by doing everything via email or voice mail. Sometimes you have to make a conscious decision not to use it.

Tell your friends and family members to take you off their joke lists. Too much time is wasted sending jokes via email. Jokes and spamming are the biggest annoyances in cyberspace.

Narrow your web searches. Another challenge is quickly finding the information you’re looking for. When you conduct a search, you get a huge list. Some of the information is really old or completely unrelated to what you want. Learn to be more specific about what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a keynote speaker for your conference, don’t simply type “motivational speaker.” Rather, give a topic and several words to narrow your search.

If you use the computer all day at work, make an effort not to use it at home. Don’t become obsessed with surfing the net. Schedule an appointment to spend time with your loved ones if you have to. Turn off your cell phone and insist on your privacy at home.

High-tech devices mean speed and availability. They should help us be more efficient, save us time and make life easier. But these tools are also great users of time. Recognize the potential faults of technology and focus on avoiding them. Then use some of the above tips to realize the great advantages of technology.

© 2009 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004). Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M. To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401. Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

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