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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Pricing Office Software

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Cal Newport considers an interesting productivity analysis from the early days of wide adoption of office software:

Will it help him fly, or get him caught on something? (Image via Pixabay.)
Deploying a technique called work value analysis, [economist Peter] Sassone measured not only the amount of work conducted by his subjects, but also the skill level required for the work. He found that managers and other skilled professionals were spending surprisingly large percentages of their time working on tasks that could be completed by comparably lower-level employees.

He identified several factors that explain this observation, but a major culprit was the rise of "productivity-enhancing" computer systems. This new technology made it possible for managers and professionals to tackle administrative tasks that used to require dedicated support staff.

The positive impact of this change was that companies needed less support staff. The negative impact was that it reduced the ability of managers and professionals to spend concentrated time working on the things they did best. [bold added]
Newport elaborates on this negative impact and how it applies today. Now, we not only have the problem of less time to do what he calls "deep work," but many things tempt us to break up what time we have left. Deep work requires concentration, the very opposite of the constant state of distraction he warns us against.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

-- CAV

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