Machines Melt Minds

Machines Melt Minds by Laura Stack #productivityMachines melt minds. And not in a good way, like warm butter melting on a fluffy stack of pancakes.

No, in a bad way, as in a meltdown that sends profits into a death spiral.

Productive workers get this. That’s why they come out from behind their machines and keep their minds fresh and buzzing at the company softball league, the annual Holiday bash, the weekend corporate retreat, or a trip to a motivational seminar.

Productive workers know that blazing one’s eyeballs behind a monitor all day can fry brain cells. So don’t overlook the value of going to the health club or fostering deeper relational bonds by getting off your bottom and walking over to a coworker’s office to talk about a heated issue.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs may have given us the tools we need to get the job done. But, unfortunately, if taken to excess, they’ve also given us frying pans for our brains.

Take Twitter and Facebook for example, the profit-sucking vampires.

There, I said it.

“But wait, Laura,” you say. “Don’t you use these social networking sites yourself?”

Yes, I do. And they no doubt serve a marketing purpose. But let’s get real: most employees aren’t using Twitter and Facebook to boost annual earnings. To the contrary, they’re squandering annual earnings.

Think I’m being hyperbolic? Consider this:

Meet Bob. Bob uses Twitter and Facebook each day for just 20 minutes during business hours. It’s just 20 minutes. No big deal, right? Wrong.

• Twenty minutes x five days a week = 100 minutes of lost productivity each week.

• 52 weeks in a year means 5,200 minutes of lost productivity each year.

• If Bob works for the company 10 years, that’s 52,000 minutes of lost productivity over Bob’s career.

• That works out to 866 hours of lost productivity or just under an entire YEAR (22 weeks) of lost productivity!

• And all because Bob is a mild Tweetaholic who Tweets 20 minutes each day.

Now what if you have a company with 5,000 Bobs?

Granted, if you have a bottom-line impact such as an HR Professional recruiting people to come work in your organization, or a PR job making your company seem like a great place to work, or a salesperson reaching out to new prospects, it’s easier to justify the time spent in front of the screen. But rare is the person who not only understands their goals and has the self-control to get in, take care of business, and get out.

Pick up the phone and call a prospect. Go to lunch and get to know someone while breaking bread together. Get out of the building on your lunch break and take a walk in the sunshine. It will give your eyeballs and your brain a much needed fresh breath of air.



  1. Social networks are weapons of mass distraction. But without social networks I wouldn’t have found your blog… 🙂


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