Mobile EfficiencyI love technology. I own two notebook computers, two tablets, two phones and some other cool stuff, use a range of cloud applications and I am constantly excited by what is possible.

I also understand that mobile is one of the huge trends in technology. As a society, we are increasingly turning to tablets and particularly smart phones for all manner of things. Indeed many of us would seem to be very much wedded to our mobile devices. This was brought home at ATSA in October when most people in the room at one session I attended said they check their mobile first thing in the morning even before they say good morning to and kiss their spouse. I found this quite disturbing!

So why do I ask if we are pushing square pegs through round holes? Simply, because I believe we are trying to do so much on our mobile devices that we are in danger of becoming quite inefficient. Inefficient because we could do some things so much faster on a computer. My prime example of this is around email.

I love the convenience of being able to glance at my mobile phone or tablet and quickly see what emails I have received. What I don’t do however is respond to those emails, unless there really is something very pressing – and usually it is not, because if it was that person would have rung me. I see on a daily basis people composing longish emails on their phone. In many cases it is my belief that it would be more efficient and effective to wait until you have a proper keyboard and then respond to your emails.

I know that many “time management experts” will tell us that doing useful things in down time is a real time saver and I agree that there is merit in this view. It is just that I think we are taking it too far.

I call my hypothesis the Mobile Efficiency Fallacy. We think we are being super efficient but I beg to differ. Not only that there is the matter of quality. By that I mean, a quick response to an email on your phone is often ill considered and contains a bunch of typos. And often the sender will have a moment later when he or she will think “Oh my God (or more likely just OMG!) what was I thinking”.

I can knock over email responses super fast and with a high quality when I am in front of my computer. I don’t feel the need to respond while I am out shopping, having lunch or supposedly having some genuine down time. The time management experts also tell us that one of the most effective ways to deal with emails is to have just a few times a day when we respond. And I would then add that we do that when we are in front of a computer with a decent keyboard and a clear head.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic.

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