Six ways to harness technology and be a better worker

How do you harness technology, rather than letting it drive you mad? Here are six simple ways.


Thousands of documents, a tidal wave of SMS and e-mail, countless web pages, memos and electronic newsletters – the information that swamps the average worker on a daily basis can be daunting, not to mention counterproductive. And while all this new technology is supposed to herald the dawn of the paperless office, it hasn’t happened.

  • Know when to phone, rather than write: In some situations you need to write an e-mail message. In many others, a one-minute phone call will suffice.
  • The following tips will help you do just that: identify and eliminate unnecessary paperwork and handle "must-do" paperwork efficiently and effectively. Some things are also better done in person, such as mild reprimands and getting urgent feedback. Remember that not everyone is equally good at conveying tone in writing.
  • Set an example by not abusing e-mail: It’s so easy to forward a joke to everyone on your address list. There’s also a very chance that someone, somewhere will find it irritating. They might also end up ignoring – or paying scant attention to – an important message from you.
  • Learn to write: E-mail is changing the way people write – punctuation and grammar take a pounding from everyone’s desire to send off an e-mail quickly. But your communications are likely to carry more weight if they’re worded properly. If you’re used to typing with two fingers, you can download a free typing tutor and learn to type more quickly and accurately.
  • Don’t print instinctively: If you have backups of documents you usually don’t need hard copies. Obviously some stuff should be printed and filed, such as letters of appointment and contracts. But there’s definitely no need to print something if you’ll never use it again.
  • Have a purge: If you have massive drifts of paper building on your desk, wade in clean up. File it or discard it, with an emphasis on the latter. Consider it your contribution to recycling and good office karma. The same applies to terminating subscriptions to all those newsletters that you delete without reading.

(William Smook, Health24 )

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