Productivity Lost

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Where has all the time gone?

I finally started using a Blog aggregator. Yup, I looked at a few and decided upon’s free web interface to try out. I have successfully added some of the Blog sites that I like to read. Sites like,, and of course scobleizer to name a few…

I am totally amazed at the amount of content produced by some of these people. Being a casual read of a few sites and a steady Googler for solutions I had no idea how much stuff is out there! Wow!

That makes me think about a business article I read years ago about executives that were pleased to get four or five good, productive hours from their employees each day (out of an eight hour work day). The causes listed were almost entirely tasks that should be done at home. Things like online banking, talking on the phone with friends, planning personal vacations and traveling arrangements, chatting at the "water cooler" about non-work related topics, the list goes on and on (and gets worse). At the time I was outraged at the thought! But, compared to today’s average hours...

Productivity lost

Look, I don’t like working long hours, but a lot of people I have worked with apparently don’t mind or don’t realize their conundrum. People whine and complain about the long hours but everyone seems content to continue to perform personal tasks while at work. What’s the difference? If you manage your checking account at work, you should expect to put in more time later to make up the difference.

Do I need another productivity booster for things that don’t matter? I’m talking, in particular, about the Sidebar in Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system and other applications like it. The majority of current dashboards fall into this trend as well.

Sure, monitoring the weather outside all day is important if you’re the weatherman. Sidebars, instant messengers, widget tools are all cool and provide nice eye candy, but providing me more information about more things doesn’t help me accomplish my tasks. In my opinion, this trend of providing sidebars and dashboards to show me constant (useless) information is only making things worse. Don’t get me started on how the Dashboard concept has been bastardized into meaningless eye candy.

If it doesn’t provide meaningful, relevant data then I’m not interested in using it. I think that is Microsoft’s real challenge for the future. That’s any information company’s challenge, be it Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon... Provide useful, relevant information when I want it; don’t shove it down my throat.

For those that use these utilities; close them and get your tasks done so you can go home.
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