Downloading Tomorrow's Outlook

Imagine life 30 years ago, without all the gadgets that are available today to “help” us be more proficient. Wow - how did we exist? How did we get anything done? No Blackberrys or iPhones, no Tablets or iPads, no laptops …

We had a system and it worked - nothing flashy or way cool, just head down and push through ‘til it’s done. Our productivity tools were Determination and Follow-through. Slowly, advanced technology started to reach the masses. Marketing showed us there might be an easier way, but without experience, how could we know if it really helped?

Changing technologies

Recently the news reported that, for the first time, more people own smart phones than flip phones. This signifies a shift in what we demand from our gadgets, not to mention acceptance of technology. I’ve had a smart phone for a few years, and I recently updated to the Android to acquire a larger screen with faster Internet access. Well, I’m here to tell ya - what a learning curve I have had, becoming acquainted with touchscreen technology after owning a phone that demands firm button pressure.

Having made this purchase to become more productive, I have on occasion regretted the thought that this would be ‘a smart move.’ Hundreds of times a day I am typing, backspacing, retyping, backspacing again – Aarrgggggg! As the emails and texts pile up in my inbox, and my now seemingly tree trunk-sized fingers play a game of ‘press every key at once,’ frustration starts to set in. I feel my control over the temptation to hurl this “smart” phone towards the Atlantic becoming … strained.

Under control

(Sigh) Setting the phone down while counting to 6 zillion has helped to some degree, because I know the fault lies not with the phone. As it turns out, my desire to quickly finish things has taken priority over the importance of slowing down to learn a more proficient method of productivity.

Years back I decided ‘98’ was my daily number, meaning that roughly 2 percent of each day is out of my control. Sometimes during my haste I have to remind myself of this. Curious to know your own daily number?

Try this quiz:

  • Did you have a complete breakfast (the most important meal of the day)?
  • Were you late for work or an appointment?
  • Was that important tool ordered?
  • Did the afternoon bring a case of droopy eyes or lost attention?
  • Was that last interaction with a customer or co-worker handled correctly?

Second nature

The list of questions could be as long as Stretch Armstrong’s right arm, as could the list of appropriate reactions to those situations. But for each reaction there is a reason. Too often in our busy lives we are quick to hold our surroundings accountable for our own shortcomings. This stunts personal growth. No matter how technically advanced we become, there is one personal habit that needs constant attention for us to be at the top of our game. Nurturing this habit may require a slight learning curve and a few changes, but with experience it will become second nature.

Just as an electronic gadget is only as good as the input it is given, the same is true of the energy that is given to the person in the mirror. It is as simple as garbage in/garbage out: negative energy in/negative outcome. If we choose to be negative, how could we expect a positive outcome? The person in the mirror is given a belief, and so naturally it will be lived out. If that belief is negative, everything that goes wrong is actually expected.

What if tomorrow we awoke to say “today has to be made and I shall make it a great one?” Positive in - positive out; a belief and a command. Suddenly the Droid works better, the iPad actually has benefits, and the computer no longer appears stupid. What deep, intense control we each hold over our daily lives! With every new app that helps us become more proficient, let’s not lose sight of the fact that regularly updating our outlook is the most important download to make better productive days.

Joe Poulin is a district manager based in Gray, Maine, for Mac Tools. Send any comments or feedback you have for Joe by e-mail to