Technologies Designed to Save Time Are Helping Us Waste It

By Max Nisen

April 21, 2014

Technologies like email and videoconferencing, designed to save time, end up helping people waste more of it. A new study by Bain & Company published at the Harvard Business Review finds that the way we order our lives and structure our business operations, and particularly our meetings, wastes a spectacular amount of time.

Organizations account for how money is used. But time, for the most part, is barely tracked and sucked up by meetings and preparing for them. Things like email, conference calls, and online calendars make scheduling and attending things so easy people don’t stop to think before they do it.

The statistics from the study are pretty incredible:

The data come from a study of time use at 17 large companies that used analytics tools from VoloMetrix.

For senior executives especially, meetings, calls, and emails create hours of work for other people. A failure to measure time use and the fact that most companies have no way to discourage or penalize unproductive meetings help make things worse.

The authors make some good suggestions for organizations and people, like creating a limited time budget for meetings, and always having a clear and very limited agenda.

If there’s one overall takeaway, the best thing an individual can do is to think twice before sending an email or scheduling a meeting. Not only are most of them time wasters, they have a cascade effect on our own time and that of others that we don’t think about enough. It all seriously adds up.

(Image via Sophie James/Shutterstock.com)

Reprinted with permission from Quartz. The original story can be found here


By Max Nisen

April 21, 2014

http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2014/04/companies-have-turned-killing-time-art-form/82873/