I’m in Technology Hell

I was recently dubbed a “hyper-organized” person by one of my superiors at work. Initially I didn’t know how to take that? Compliment? Insult? I guess it’s not such a bad thing to be hyper organized, right? Isn’t that every employers dream? Reflecting back, I do actually take it as a compliment. The problem I’m having now is that I’m constantly trying to manage EVERYTHING in my life. All the way down to the queue that I constantly build up in my “Words with Friends” app. It’s currently at 6 and I freak out if I fall asleep at night and don’t clear that queue out. Is this a cause of gamification? I’ve recently reflected on this and realized that I currently own a large range of software stacks that are all “supposed” to make my life better. However, the more and more things I need to manage, the more I think it’s driving me crazy.

Some of the things I do to say hyper organized usually involves a long list of pieces of technology. First my setup is a MacBook Pro which runs Max OS X SL and a VM containing Win7. Here are the technologies I utilize:

  1. I really only run a Win7 image for Outlook, everything else Office, and SAPGui. If Google docs could preserve the formatting of Office 100%, then I’d gladly kill the Office suite. Outlook is also much better Calendar integration than iCal or Google Calendar. Until then I’m tied to Windows.
  2. On the Mac OS X bit, I regularly use Chrome (general web browsing), Skype for IM/calls, OmniGraffle for mock-ups, Evernote for to-do (and everything else that has to do with notes), Spotify and iTunes
  3. Now let’s talk about all of the SaaS services I use:
    1. Dropbox – General back-up and sharing of files (pictures, etc)
    2. Evernote – I’m anal about my to-do list and use Evernote extensively to manage my to-do list (btw – I have no idea why people use anything more than a txt file for a to-do list)
    3. WordPress – This blog is WordPress installed on a shared host (WebFaction)
    4. Hypem – I listen to mostly remixs on Hypem, “regular” music via Spotify (monthly fee) and iTunes (amazon mp3′s usually)
    5. Yammer – Internally used at my company
    6. Twitter – This is almost a full time job in itself
    7. Facebook - Yes, just like you I have to manage my social life (also I realize FB isn’t really a “SaaS”, but still worth noting)
    8. Gmail – Both company and personal
    9. Tumblr – I manage my Triathlon blog on here: Trithlete
    10. Box.net  - We just recently moved our doc collaboration over to Box.net
    11. Assembla – For all of my project management
    12. Google Apps – Use this for work and collaboration on my apartment utilities, vacation planning, etc.
    13. Outlook Web – To manage my current project e-mail (I use the company’s e-mail)
  4. Then let’s talk about the apps I have on my iPhone that I use to make my life easier: Dropbox, Evernote, Tumblr, and Box
  5. Lastly there is the general communication apps I use on a daily basis: WhatsApp, Messages (built-in), E-mail, Yammer, Twitter, and Facebook

On an average day I’m managing a queue of people e-mailing me (which I generally keep to 0), phone calls/vmail (which I also always leave at 0), twitter, contracted company web Outlook, WhatsApp messages and Yammer. This is nearly a full-time job in itself. The amount of Chrome tabs I have open in a given day is extraordinary!

So what does this all mean? It requires an unreal amount of task-switching. I feel like I have to manage 100 different queues and they all need to be as close to zero as possible at any given point. Which leads me to believe…are all of those innovative technology products making my life any easier? Or am I in a constant state of technology hell? The problem is I realize what every single one of these services means to me and how important they are. So I’m not really willing to ditch any of them. For example, I don’t check Facebook as much as I used to but I realize that it’s important for me to have a presence there. I otherwise I may lose touch with a core set of friends and family which happen to live all over the world (Australia, UK, Germany, Sweden, California, Illinois, New York, etc).

I realize now why people don’t respond to e-mails right away anymore…because we’ve found 100 million ways to replace e-mail, because apparently e-mail wasn’t good enough.