Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strung Out With Addiction To Microsoft Outlook

I work for a Fortune 50 High Technology company. We have tens of thousands of employees scattered across the globe. We work on virtual teams and spend hours on conference calls. We share hundreds of spreadsheets and slide decks all day long. I doubt our company is different from others with the exception of Apple and Google who I highly doubt are entrenched users of Microsoft products. Regardless, even Apple and Google employees have to manage their time and manage across multiple geographies. I am sure they also suffer from hours of conference calls and spreadsheets and slide decks. Sometimes it is really nauseating and as a HR professional I would be remiss if I did not look at this work system with a lens to try to improve organizational effectiveness.

The one area that is most blatant is in regards to what I call "OUTLOOK ADDICTS". These are the people, many times in the executive ranks, who have their outlook calendars booked weeks and even months in advance. Day after day, week after week, meeting after meeting, conference call after conference call -- they become mindless robots -- watching powerpoint presentations as if they were an 8 hour television show.

I often feel myself falling into the same OUTLOOK quicksand and have to work hard to avoid this potent time wasting narcotic. I have worked other places and have seen the same trend, although it may be epidemic at my current employer.

Does this resonate with anyone else? Are you also forced to navigate the murky waters of OUTLOOK neophytes whose destructive time management tendencies suck the lifeblood out of organizational productivity?

Time management gurus and experts have written many books on the topic if you are seeking to recover or to help others. My personal favorite is a chapter from a book summarizing the management philosophy of the late Peter Drucker. Seek out Chapter 16 titled "Know Your Time" and study it very carefully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother. What annoys me is how people are emailing ALL THE TIME with Outlook on their Blackberries (during meetings, in the bathroom). It seems they can be present and not present at the same time. Complete waste.