Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surviving the Internet

Inside One WilshireImage by xeni via Flickr

I've had a ton of conversation of late that start with the person telling me how their email and other electronic communications (it's always a Crackberry) are destroying their life. They tell me how many emails they are handling a day, how many hours they are tethered, working, and on and on and on. It almost always concludes with some rant about how these electronic mediated relationships are so unsatisfying, and how they hate their work. These people aren't doing well. The internet is killing them, and for most of them, it's only going to get worse.

There are plenty of advice columns out there to attempt to help you get a handle on it all. This article is what got me started on this post: Compass: Can We Survive the Internet?
We’re not worried about whether the Internet will survive. No, the question is whether we, as human beings and workers, can survive what the Internet is doing to us.
It lead me to this nice Future of Work article with some survival tips: Seven Ways to Manage Yourself
  • Don't procrastinate
  • Reduce interruptions.
  • Get your papers organized
  • Screen non-essential information
  • Establish good email and electronic document storage habits
  • Use your calendar proactively
  • Develop an effective Task/To Do follow-up system
Hmmmm, did you laugh? Isn't this pretty close to the list of efficiency and time management things recommended some 30 years ago? They missed a few: handle mail once, make sure your desk is cleared at the end of the day, screen your calls, don't feed the monkey...

Here's the deal. You're not going to manage your way out of the deluge. The old ways of approaching work won't help you one darned bit today. The amount of information you're needing to grok on a daily basis is increasing exponentially. Go ahead, work your butt off to increase your efficiency 10-15%-- what in the world is that going to buy you? Exactly, not a darned thing but the ability to handle 10-15% more emails a day. Eventually, no matter what it is going to bury you. Think information super-highway road kill.

Not everyone is struggling. In every major morph there are winners and losers. Some people are thriving in this new information rich environment. They don't hate the internet. As a matter of fact, they love it. They rejoice in the opportunities it has created. They bask in the flow. They approach their online experiences with an anticipation, enthusiasm, and appreciation that they never imagined possible. What is it that these people have figured-out that is being missed by so many? Is it even possible to bring the others along? (Just be the ball, be the ball, be the ball. You're not being the ball Danny. )

If it takes 10,000 hours to reach mastery, (PDF Warning: The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance) how are people going to get there when most of their existence is spent fighting, rather than embracing the flow?
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1 comment:

Suddenly Fourty said...

I find out that publishers of content have the most to gain from the Internet while those who are primarily receivers of content have the least to gain.