If you are frustrated by a lack of success with the “latest and greatest” time-savers, join the club! Every new gadget or program comes with incredibly convincing hype… and we fall for it! Although we may need at least some of these items, the only way to be sure is to analyze whether the offering fits our communication and productivity styles.
Here are a few tips to help determine if any new gadget is right for you:
- Know your learning and productivity styles: Just because an item works for your friend doesn’t mean it will work for you. Are you apt to respond and be more productive with visual reminders than auditory ones? If so, “hiding” all your To Do’s in electronic form and waiting for audible reminders may not be the best idea. Try it for a week – if you forget to do important items because they’re not visible, this may not be for you.
- Use a combination of styles: Use electronic gadgets for some purposes, and manual systems for others. I love my iPhone for my calendar and address book, but hate it for my To Do List. I can’t seem to take electronic “To Do’s” seriously. Call me old-fashioned – or just weird – but if I hand-write a list of important items, they seem more real, I remember them better, and I get a great feeling of accomplishment from manually crossing them off my list as they’re done!
- Ask yourself, “Will this make my life easier… or harder?” Analyze how much time you spend doing a task, and which steps cost you the most time. Will this technology shorten those steps? Is it worth the cost (of money and time spent learning it)? Don’t buy it if it the answer is no!
Technology doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Most technology today has SO much functionality built into it that you’ll never use it all – so don’t even try! Just find out which seem to have the right functionality for you, try it before you buy it (if possible), and then spend your valuable time and money on appropriate items that will make your personal and professional life a little easier and give you back a little balance.
And don’t worry if your friend’s new “toy” doesn’t work for you – remember that gadgets are like buses: if you miss one, another one is right around the corner!