Personal Site of Bill Hall

Does Technology Get In Our Way?


I'm sitting here, at a little desk with my little 12" Macbook Pro (2015) and a little desk lamp. On the desk is my phone, my wallet, glasses and a single business card someone gave me at a conference I'm attending. The desk is about 3' wide. This is it. For some reason, I feel empowered, thoughtful, and calm. Let's compare this to my desk back at the office….

Back at the office, I have an electronically adjustable sit/stand desk. For those that know me know I have a terrible back and the desk has been great. I made the desk out of an $8 piece of plywood from Home Depot (sorry, no, it's not rescued or repurposed, or whatever it's called) that is about 6'. Works great, but it's big (at least to me it is). I have dual ultra wide dell monitors that are 'floating' thanks to adjustable monitor stands. I have a VoiP phone, a USB 3 hub, a VoIP headset, a thunderbolt 2 hub, stereo speakers, a subwoofer (c'mon, you know you want a subwoofer under your desk!), iPhone dock, headphones, and that's all I can remember.

I swear, sitting here at this tiny desk (Hey! There's a new HGTV trend show for ya! Tiny desk!) I am more thoughtful, calm, and creative. I like it. It's just me, a light, and my tool. So, this begs the question: Does technology get in the way of productivity?

Let's turn this around to look at it more carefully and easily? With all this advanced technology (did you know the average laptop today is technically a super computer? Yup, it's true!), the US worker should be more productive than ever, right? Absolutely! We can calculate, search, write, publish, and communicate WAY faster than even 10 years ago. So, I was curious and I looked around a little.

Turns out: US WORKERS ARE LESS PRODUCTIVE THAN EVER! Say What?!? Yup, it's true and there's research to prove it.

Are you ready for this? According to the US Bureau (that's a hard word to spell) of Labor Statistics we are currently at the lowest level of productivity to hours worked ratios since the great depression - Scary!

"In the span of just six quarters between 2007 and 2009, nonfarm business output declined by $753 billion and 8.1 million jobs were lost."

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source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics: January 2017 | Vol. 6 / No. 2

Wow, this is absolutely amazing to me. So, I guess this answers my questions: Yes, I think technology might actually get in the way. But, I would suggest this instead: Like everything in life, how about a little moderation? Do we really need 10hr work week vs 80hr work weeks? No carbs vs all carbs? Why is everything so incredibly extreme? What ever happened to good old moderation and simplicity?

My vote, go with moderation, cut back a little but don't cut back entirely and maybe we can all find our happy medium.

It's worth the read. You can find the full report here:

- Bill Hall