A while back, we talked about adding routine and structure to your business to ensure you’re being your most productive self, which is also something we cover in the Monitor and Manage Small Business Operations subject of our Small Business Management course. But what if, despite all your routines and structures, it’s technology that’s actually letting you down? Well, you’re probably not alone.
Don’t Waste Your Hard Earned Money!
The other day, I was scanning the hard copies of my published newspaper and magazine articles when something occurred to me: this was maybe the most tedious, time-consuming thing I’ve done since I became a freelance writer.
It was also costly. Costly because for the hours I spent wrangling with my flatbed scanner, trying to get each magazine or newspaper in a position that allowed you to read the copy without feeling nauseous and then hold it in situ for three minutes while it was “scanning”, I could have been doing so many other things; important things — revenue-generating things.
But I’m not the only person wasting time on antiquated technology to the detriment of my productivity. In fact, there are so many people operating with out-of-date business technology that Intel has launched a new campaign called “What Year Are You Doing Business In?”. (Ostensibly to sell more PCs, but still it reveals something interesting about our relationship with technology.)
Lost Productivity Costs Time and Money
If it’s pretty much accepted that technology is ever-evolving, that as soon as you walk out the door with a new computer, it’s already out-of-date; then how come we’re so reluctant when it comes to updating our office technology and equipment?
There are so many reasons — some philosophical and some not — but the main driver has a lot to do with cost. Specifically the cost of buying a new PC, copier, printer, scanner and whatever else — which often runs into the tens-of-thousands. So when faced with this cost, invariably a thought as antiquated as the Windows 97 operating system on our PC crosses our mind: if it aint broke; don’t fix it.
Besides, just because it takes ten minutes, a cup of coffee and a quick tidy-up of our desk before our PC returns a Google search, doesn’t mean it’s broke. So we decide to save that money, instead. But persevering with a 90’s relic comes at a cost too — a cost to our productivity.
But there are tangible financial costs too. I worked out that on the day I spent cursing my scanner (and myself for not insisting on PDF copies of my articles) it cost me about $500 in lost revenue. Instead I could have been filing commissions before their assigned deadline, freeing me up to pursue other commissions — the lifeblood of my business and my livelihood.
(Why not allow Intel add up those lost minutes for you by jumping onto their “What Year Are You Doing Business In?” website and putting in your details?)
It turns out I’m doing business in 2009 — not surprising since that’s the year I bought my computer. What is surprising, however, is that a computer built in 2013 is around 16 times faster than my four-year-old MacBook. Does this mean in theory I could be 16 times more productive (and 16 times richer?)