There’s another new iPhone on the horizon? An even smaller laser scanner is in the works? Do we really need a new version of Windows?
Burnout is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” The rapid pace of technological change can definitely produce burnout. Few situations are more frustrating for a business owner than investing in new technology and having the next model hit the floor three months later, or not being able to put it to use to make a profit.
Here are five tips to help you avoid technology burnout:
1. Don't buy the latest technology just because you want it. Every business should have a strategy that takes into account the goals of the business and adopts a realistic pace of change. Being able to expertly apply a 3-year-old technology is arguably better than approaching each job as an experiment with the latest and greatest hardware and software.
2. Do stay informed on the latest technology and evaluate whether it fits your firm’s goals and objectives. This might mean revising your technology investment strategy, or it might just mean finding new partners or teaming opportunities. Ways to stay informed can include reading articles, attending conferences and participating in online discussions.
3. Watch your time. Set aside a specific time for doing research and, more importantly, stick to it! Many companies feel that they are already behind in the technology race, but there is always a fire to put out or a distraction to deal with. There are only 24 hours in a day, so you have to plan how you will spend your time. Review an article talking about how others use technology in their workflow. Make a list of technologies that might benefit your company. Set up a meeting with a software provider and create a list of questions to ask about their product. Google your competitors and see how they are using different technologies. Even small investments in time can have a big impact in helping you develop a smart strategy.
4. Have more than one person produce ideas and strategies for implementing new technologies. Fresh eyes can produce amazing results. Also, everyone in your company has different strengths. Your job as an owner or manager is to identify and optimize those strengths so that you can achieve your end goal. Get people involved and create an atmosphere of ownership and learning. The more project managers are involved with the selection of new technologies, the more successful the implementation of those technologies will be. Once you invest in new hardware or software, have lunch-ins where project managers can share their tips and tricks. This produces a sense of community and support.
5. Check your focus. Are you so focused on technology that you’re missing the basic needs of your clients? What problems are your clients facing, and how can you best solve those problems? Maybe it is with new technology ... but then again, maybe it isn't. Find out what you can do to either make your client look better in the eyes of their boss or make their lives easier. Remember that they have a job to do as well, so don’t implement technology that is going to slow them down unless they see a great benefit.
Technology advances can be challenging, but they can also give your firm a substantial advantage by streamlining workflows and improving capabilities. By developing a proactive strategy, you can avoid technology burnout while staying current in a way that makes sense for your business and your clients.