As published in the Sunday Star Times, April 5, 2015: http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/gadgets/67607013/smart-watch-a-tempting-time-saver-for-business)
We all know the history of Apple – how it went from near bankruptcy to a pioneering legend in technology and design.
When quizzed in 1997 on how he would lead Apple back from the brink, Steve Jobs replied, “You wait for the next big thing and jump on it”. For Apple, this turned out to be iPods and iTunes at exactly the right time for the market, and of course they’ve then built on their strong brand by adding more products to their range at the right time.
Thinking of Steve’s advice, do you and your business have an “iPod/iTunes time” to take advantage of right now, in your industry? Is there something you are able to be disruptive with at exactly the right time when the market is open to it? (Take ten minutes to think on this, as the answer could be business changing for you.)
So the “smart watch” is the latest next big thing Apple is jumping on. If we use it for good, there is definitely a chance it could make us more successful, starting with additional accountability. However, if we let it become an addictive gadget then, ouch, we could have some issues with productivity and distractions.
I know that many personal apps have helped millions and millions of people around the world: to be fitter, to keep tabs on to-do lists, to run their life via a calendar and to receive notifications around the clock. And life is certainly easier with a smart phone as most of us can continue to work almost anywhere.
People are more accessible, you have a GPS on hand, you can get an answer to anything anywhere by simply Googling. But there are obvious downsides too, mostly around being constantly connected and distracted, the work/life balance and being able to switch off completely once you get home. Do we really need another device?
Well given a lot of people are struggling day to day to focus on the right things (I see it time and time again with my business coaching clients), a smart watch could be the missing link. It is certainly going to make time measurement a lot easier.
I can imagine some quick-thinking tradies equipping their team with a smart watch, and getting them to track their exact time spent on a job instead of the customary 1 or 1.5 hour charge that we always seem to get from an electrician or plumber. Those firms could advertise this point of difference: “Our staff wear smart watches and are 100 per cent accurate in recording time on the job. We only charge real time spent, not some mathematical regular number – guaranteed”.
I do know that some apps exist out there that do this, but many consumers do not know this, so might think “real time management on a smart watch” is cool?
Sitting in a meeting, it is going to be challenging when your watch light flashes upon every email you receive, or with your 15-minute reminders. When we get interrupted, most of us take a bit longer to get re-engaged in the work we were doing, so will the flashing light make us a little bit more ineffective?
One way it could really help with productivity and prioritisation is if it helps identify where our time during the workday is spent. If we can sit down at the end of the day and the end of the week and analyse what we have been doing and for how long, it could highlight some interesting results.
Perhaps we may find we spend far too long on admin. Or not long enough on marketing. Or that Friday yields a lot of unbillable hours. But, again, it’s up to us to have the inclination and discipline to do this and to use this gadget for good.
I wonder how many “business expense” smart watches will creep into a company’s books? I can’t wait to see in a few years’ time whether the verdict on smart watches is that they’re good for business productivity – or not. Time will tell.
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach, speaker and director. He owns www.businesschanging.com and also runs a business bootcamp intensive course.
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