As of this writing, I have just executed a spectacular, productivity-related facepalm at some 20,000 feet in the air. The culprit? My iPad. Hey, want to know where I’m headed? To a – wait for it – seminar on business productivity with iPads.
The why, the how and the shame
In all fairness, said iPad is only partially to blame for today’s episode of “How a little stress and not enough sleep may induce particularly unamusing exhibitions of lackluster decision-making”.
You see, I do love the convenience of tablets – so much so, that in the occasional fit of boredom I peruse my e-mail accounts even when I´m not in productivity mode, just to see whether anything interested has arrived (since I abide by my own principle of disabling all notifications of incoming communications).
Under ordinary circumstances, I only communicate by way of tablet if I must. But on this particular flight, a mere 15 minutes ago, I somehow started tapping out a reply to a particularly urgent e-mail… and got tangled up.
15 minutes and 5 e-mails later, I was momentarily interrupted by a courteous attendant inquiring after my particular taste of nondescript lunch, and upon returning my attention to my iPad noticed the exceedingly poor state of my ergonomics.
Hunched across my iPad as I was, resting it on the tray before me, I was overcome with the most urgent feeling to connect my forehead with said tray. In 15 minutes, I had concocted 5 replies, which would have taken me all of 3 minutes had I at the very least had the wits about me to pick up my Bluetooth keyboard.
Facepalming, tiger balming
Before you say anything: I know, I know. If anyone ought to know better, it’s the bloke who coaches others on how to be productive. Yet this is a textbook example of how high-level processes disintegrate under even mild levels of stress and fatigue.
It also serves to pointedly illustrate the double-edged sword that is tablet productivity: our brains confuse instant-on with instant productivity, but anyone who has ever tried to edit a spreadsheet or post a Facebook update knows that a tablet is no match for ye olde laptop. Simply put, a tablet goes 0-100 in 2 seconds… and tops out at 110.
Although great strides are being made towards an improved content creation experience on tablets, their forte remains consumption. However, there areas where they are as good – or even better – than their heavier counterparts, and for me that includes note-taking, writing, calendar management and ‘radar sweeps’ where I rapidly check all communication channels and what’s on my task list.
Of course, I’m convinced that this entire episode constitutes the Universe informing me – in its very own way, and in a voice that bears a remarkable semblance to that of James Earl Jones – that I just got had. The only polite thing to do is to respond, and so I’ve crafted the following reply.
Dear Universe, I got your message.
Please stop doing that.
P.S.: I promise to sleep more and stress less.