How much is now?

Seth Godin wrote this on his blog recently:

More than ever, there’s a clear relationship between how new something is and how much it costs to discover that news.

You can check your email twice a day pretty easily. Once every fifteen minutes has a disruption cost. Pinging it with your pocketphone every sixty seconds is an extremely expensive lifestyle/productivity choice.

Sure, go ahead, stay hyper-current, but realize it’s not free.

As a piece of information it’s stayed with me, as I see this as a problem for me. And several other creative entrepreneurs that I’ve asked. I’m very guilty of checking my email, RSS reader, blog comments etc on a very regular basis as I hate to think I’m “behind the curve” and not up to date with the freshest, most interesting ideas and conversations. The reality is that in the vast majority of cases it won’t matter if I’m a few hours/days/weeks slower than some.

For someone dealing in stocks and shares they need to pay a premium price for up-to-the-second data. But I deal in “ideas”, creativity, and other nebulous stuff like that.

The impact on my productivity of working like this is that I don’t spend enough solid chunks of time doing whatever’s at the top of my list. It’s like the theory I’ve talked about recently that our lives and minds are far too fragmented. In times past our days were split into just three or four sections (plough, hunt, gather, eat etc). But today we’re required to do 100’s of things an hour (check email, read article, make drink, check email, send text, write email, send email, check RSS, read article). Does anyone ever get anything done?

I know my most productive hours are those straight after a meeting when I’m enthused and have an action list to do.

I intend to write more on the big gap between the huge amounts of technology now ever-present in our minds, and our ability to deal with them effectively. But for now, I’ve got go check my email in case something incredibly exciting has arrived…

p.s. Anyone seen this? Looks very good.

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3 thoughts on “How much is now?

  1. Bang on.

    Been thinking about this. You pay a penalty every time you switch from one task to another.

    So it’s all about letting your little jobs accumulate then dealing with it in bulk. Email all in one, in and out.

    In practice though it’s not always possible if you need to refer to something!

    Albert Einstein, Florence Nightingale, Pablo Picasso – none of these people achieved great things by answering email.

  2. Agree wholeheartedly. Always on is not always good.

    I look at my RSS feeds sometimes and think – do I really need to know all of this?

    Are we only specialists at gathering, filtering and recirculating information rather than at actually honing the craft of doing something that needs time and skill?

    The internet is more of an opiate than TV ever was cause it’s not just in the corner of the room. It’s everywhere.

  3. Thanks gents.

    I totally agree about the filtering process. It’s a lot more of an active process than the relationship we have with TV. And as such needs more discipline. We need to learn to deal with things in bulk, and learn to filter out the cr@p and the irrelevent, no matter how shiny and attractice it is!

    🙂

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