Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wasting My Time with Productivity Enhancement

I don't know whether someone has already proclaimed this law, but I have observed that the number of home help desk issues that I face is directly related to the number of devices that I own.  When I say help desk, I really mean things I need to look up online and troubleshoot either for myself or for friends and family.

I have many devices and software products that help me be more productive, including a home laptop, a giant multimedia laptop, a netbook for mobility, an iPad, a Droid phone, a Kindle, multiple MP3 players and more. 

These devices perform most of their functions simply and reliably, but I am not content with that.    I demand that they do something which was not quite what their makers had in mind.  I want to connect to a new data source, reformat the way something is presented, or make things work together that were made by different vendors or by the same vendor at different times.

I want so much to be productive that I don't take the time to learn new devices and software as well as I should, or to do complicated setup tasks.    Would voice dialing on my phone make my life easier?  Maybe it would, but when I say a family member's name and it dials someone in my address book that I swear I never met, it doesn't seem so.  Will I train it by recording the names of the people I call most often?   Probably not before I end up replacing this phone with another that uses different software.

Devices require care and feed such as backing them up and keeping them up to date.   One way I know that Internet access is working is when I get the nearly daily upgrade notification for Adobe Acrobat.   The other way, of course, is my ceaseless torrent of SPAM.

Many of the features that make smart phones so much fun take more time to use than I am willing to spend.    I have never had custom ringtones and rarely changed screen savers and backgrounds.     Would it be cool to how the caller's photo appear when the phone rings?   Maybe, but not if I have to upload the pix or link to a social networking site to snag them.

So at the end of the day, I end up with a simple equation: more devices = more problems.