It felt like James Hamblin was speaking about me in his video. My computer always has several different browser windows open, with no fewer than 6 tabs open on each, most have 10-15, and I panic if something shuts down and they are all closed. I am guilty of multitasking without actually being as productive as I plan to be. I tried to reflect on how I worked prior to these technologies coming into my life. As a child in the 80’s, we did not have the wealth of information at our fingertips; if you didn’t know the answer to a question you had to find a book and look it up. Anyone still have an encyclopedia collection? It’s become a reflex – when a question is posed, you google it and have the answer instantly. We never are left to wonder about questions or argue about when movies or songs were released. This should allow us to be more productive because it’s quicker to access and we have unlimited resources to choose from on the internet. But are we more productive? I would argue that this makes us less productive and more distracted.
If we are more distracted and preoccupied with whatever new idea pops into our heads, we are not using our time efficiently. The productivity suites that we discussed in our presentation this week are designed to make work easier. One of the benefits pointed out in the article by Jacquelyn Bengfort is maximizing collaboration. This made me think of collaboration between fellow education professionals or with our students. I have been able to work on group projects and presentations with my fellow students throughout the pandemic, some of whom are on different continents. This would not have been possible back when I was a nursing student. The use of collaborative technology also allows the sharing of global perspectives and allows us to work and learn from individuals from varied backgrounds. This adds to the idea of knowledge sharing and the constructivist learning theory we learned about in our first class. I think these enrich our experiences and add to our productivity.
I have talked about my experiences in education pre-internet and pre-productivity suites. I actually didn’t really think much about these applications prior to my role as an educator and only used google docs for the first time last year when I collaborated with my group for a grad class project. In my previous job as a RN, we don’t use any of this technology; we still handwrite our documentation in physical charts. I don’t think I was less productive in that role because we don’t utilize Microsoft office but I can say there was more separation between work and home. I was able to easily disconnect from my work, unlike now where my work is always with me. Physically with my computer in my home office and mentally as I am always feeling like I should be responding to emails or working a little longer on marking assignments. I may be more productive in my work but is that always a good thing?
So I would say I am still exploring the idea of productivity and how we have been influenced by it. Does anyone else feel like these tools make it harder to turn off your work brain?