The most important question that seems to be on everybody’s mind today is productivity. Whether you are an individual or an organization, we all want to be more productive. We have moved quite far from paper-based planners to the more sophisticated software, electronic gears, etc. that can help stay on your to-do lists and commitments and thereby improving your productivity. But the important question is how much these ‘tool’ affect your productivity? Can the tools alone help you become more productive?
And this is where most people get it wrong. Having access to more new and advanced tools can result in significant spikes in your productivity. The methodologies and skills are equally important.
Let’s try and understand this using an analogy: Have you heard about a ‘bat lesson’ or a ‘racquet lesson’? Probably not. But if we ask if you have heard about a cricket lesson or a tennis lesson, your answer will most likely be a yes. Learning to use the tools is a by-product.
The goal is to learn to play the game. Just holding the bat and swinging wouldn’t make you a great batsman. You need to have the right skills.
Further, if Virat Kohli is forced to play the next cricket match with some random, used bat, bought from a local shop, he wouldn’t be able to play to the standards of an International Cricket star. To that effect, both skills and tools are important.
Productivity is a lot like that. It’s is a combination of skills and tools for both the individuals and organizations. Most organizations which either develop their own productivity tools or procure one from the market focus on imparting the technical training. The intent is usually to improve the efficiency and thereby improve productivity. But giving instruction on various menus, or which icons to click will just make people proficient in the software, but not really make them more productive.
And most of the time, the new software is used for a day or two and people go back to their old ways. It’s not like the tool is bad, it’s the lack of proper framework and methodologies.
They bought the bats, but that doesn’t make them a batsman. The smarter and better approach will be to put in place mythologies before worrying about the tool. Because once the methodology is in place, the need for the right tool becomes all the more clear!
The questions you should be asking are:
- What is the problem the software (or the tool) is required to solve?
- How is it currently being done?
For instance, for a project management work, you should ask questions such as “How is the work currently being managed now?” How do individuals currently track the progress of the project and how to they set timelines?” and “how will the new tool support (and improve) the existing process?”
Technology can no doubt help improve productivity but it is just an enabler – it’s a means to an end, not an end in itself. Remember, a fancy bat won’t turn you into an international lever player!
If you are looking for specific techniques to be more productive, check out our other post on 4 Things Highly Productive People Do Differently