Do you delegate your habits of business to technology? Or is your use of technology a bad habit? When you can answer what job your business habits do for you, and then delegate that habit to technology, then you really become technology’s master.
Do you delegate your habits of business to technology? Or is your use of technology a bad habit?
I admit I get the idea of this phrase from 2 chapters in Brian Tracy’s productivity book Eat That Frog. The chapters are 15 – Technology is a Terrible Master and 16 – Technology is a Wonderful Servant. As a technologist, I think that’s spot on. Technology isn’t the slave driver we sometimes think it. It’s a tool for us to make use of and get the most from.
In this post, I will pull in few sources that I like to make my philosophical point.
I’ve always been intrigued by the Clayton Christensen’s talk about how we hire products to do a job for us, though it might not be obvious to makers what that job is. We often don’t know what that job is, or what is really competing for it. In a now famous lecture, Christensen tells a story about how they investigated the job people would Hire a Milkshake when making an early morning purchase. Turns out it was the easiest thing to consume during a long commute and the most satisfying. As compared to bananas, bagels and donuts. One can infer then that improvements on making the milkshake taste better would not have as big an impact, as say making the purchase quick or the container spill proof. Knowing the job we are hiring something for can guide us to make changes.
So how does this fit into my ideas of hiring technology to be our slave rather than our master. It is to look a little more closely at the types of jobs we could hire technology for. And not just get technology for technology’s sake.
Another concept that I find interesting is looking closer at our habits. There has been such a proliferation of books on habits in recent years that you probably have your favorite. Mine is Charles Duhigg’s book the Power of Habit. He identifies that a big part of why our brain organizes to make a habit loop out of mundane routine tasks is that it does this to free our more creative parts of the brain to tackle the more important stuff. We tend to do everyday tasks in the same way without thinking of it. Putting the right shoe on before the left. Brushing our teeth with our dominant hand. Even opening the garage door before we get in the car. Or vise-versa, depending on your personal habit.
While a lot of the habit books have us look at our habits so we can change them, I would like to reframe it as to looking at our habits so we could off load them. We probably still want to do most of our mundane tasks. And we want to get them done with out putting energy into them. After all, we wouldn’t drive out of the garage without opening the garage door after all!
In the case of our repetitive business tasks, our habits of business, we do want them to get done and free up our time to tackle our priorities and creative tasks. The things that advance our businesses and grow our careers.
Depending on the task, we can delegate it to someone on our team. Often there are tasks that we can easily delegate to technology. Especially if they get done faster and more efficiently that way. Any time we automate something, we are delegating the job to technology. One example is making our calendar available for people to book an available appointment time that works for them. Not too long ago that took several emails back and forth. Or time spent conversing with an assistant. An assistant who likely was there to do the job of screening the need for the appointment, not just scheduling the appointment.
Which takes me back to the beginning. What job is your business habits doing for you? When you can answer that fully, then you can more readily decide who or what you want to hire to do them. It’s at this point, if you decide to delegate the habit to technology, that you really become technology’s master. And as a result free yourself up to tackle the important stuff instead.