In this week’s show, we discuss how our mobile productivity usage was and has mobile productivity changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and how that may apply to your own personal productivity systems.
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Show Notes | How Has Your Mobile Productivity Changed in the Current Circumstance?
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Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:19
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Francis Wade 0:21
I’m Francis Wade.
Art Gelwicks 0:25
And I’m Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:27
Welcome, gentlemen, and welcome to our listeners to this episode of productivity cast. Today, what we’re going to be doing is talking about how mobile really has changed how you’ve been affected how mobile has changed in and around the current circumstance of the Coronavirus and the covid 19 pandemic, really. And what we’d like to do is talk about early on in the pandemic, as well as our current status. And to talk a little bit about how mobile is a part of your system, kind of going into the future, how you’re going to make it a part or not make it a part of your system, and how we’re really approaching those pieces in our own productivity systems. And then I’d like to close us out with thinking about how kind of philosophically maybe mobile technology, whether that be the OEMs as well as the providers of all of the various software technologies can adapt to the changing nature of work as we make our way through and out of the pandemic on the other side of this. And there’s so many things happening and changing in that world. I’m just curious about everybody’s thoughts there. So let’s start off with where we began in terms of before the the novel coronavirus, SARS co v2 really came about how were How do you feel like you were using technology? And how do you feel like most people around you were using mobile technology,
Augusto Pinaud 1:45
it is interesting to see the use of mobile productivity. And not only it’s easy to discuss how this has evolved over time, but more interesting how it is almost really clear that three stages into since we are starting this pandemic in March, you know the pre the pre pandemics. So before we were all sent into our new offices and at home and not being able to get out an old dad, the earliest stages of the pandemic where there was this component of uncertainty, but now we were at home, but we have all these mobile technology that we were not using, and where we are now, you know, seven months after this, and how people is getting back to really reevaluate, you know, before all the pandemic we have discussed. And many people have discussed about how the technology and the use of this mobile technology had evolve. But when we got into the real deal, the pandemic thing, people discover that most of the things they were doing before it stopped working I I had the opportunity to work, great deal people who their issue was that they simply change everything. And they were trying to use the same ideas on the same team techniques that they were using before. So and now they have come to a new way to do the things and to use this technology and to use these mobile technology that really fits their new workflow and the new way they work and the new things are doing. So that’s that’s a change that in most cases, or at least in most cases of the people, I have the opportunity to talk and discuss this topic, they have been able to see a clear distinction on this stages.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 3:54
Funny enough for me, I don’t feel like my use of mobile technology has fluctuated all that much. And it’s probably a consequence of the fact that I don’t like typing on screens, and that I have a much greater productive output on a full size keyboard. And so I’ve really avoided using mobile technologies for any amount of heavy lifting. And so I have relegated or you know, specified mobile technologies, whether that be tablets or my phone for the the work that I want it to do, and only that work. And so expanding upon that work has been a slow kind of progress. I’ve been doing more and more work on those smaller form factors, but it has been very metered. And I’ve thought a lot about how I’m using it. So I have an external keyboard for the iPad that I have. I have an external keyboard for the, for my phone, and I don’t particularly like using the phone and, and keyboard for many things at all, I just don’t. And so like before the pandemic, that was kind of how I approached it in the first place, I’m, I’ll probably correct myself and say that I’ve, I’ve probably used the iPad more since kind of the first lockdown. And that’s just as an factor of wanting a little bit more mobility with regard to like getting things done in different places, they’re not things that I couldn’t have just done with a laptop. So it’s it’s more just kind of variety is kind of a pull for variety, if I’m thinking thinking this through. But the main goal for me is to actually be seated at a full size keyboard with all of my assets, resources, that is processing power in front of me. And so the minor times when I’m, I feel the the urge to go someplace else and do a little bit of work for change of pace is, is probably very miniscule, comparative to the amount of work that I do when I sit at the desk, and I have all of my devices in front of me. And those mobile technologies are our single purpose. And they support what I’m doing on a primary or primary and secondary machine,
Francis Wade 6:40
I think I’m exactly the same way, I use their one or two apps that I have to use on mobile, because like Instagram, for example. Because they don’t really exist on desktop in the same way. A couple others. But I’m exactly the same way my workflow has not changed much because of the pandemic. I’ve been working from home since 1993. And I put a lot of thought into what my office should look like. And it’s always been an at home office. So when the pandemic hit, nothing really changed my day to day other than I spent less time away from the office. So for me, it was a bit of the opposite. But the single use single use ideal is one I’ve shared before on prior podcasts. And my tablet is is just for comm songs, consumption, it’s in my living room, it kind of lives there. My phone is just for convenience, used to be when I was on the road, and no, it’s when I want to do something in an unusual spot, like I’m laying in my hammock hammock in my outside, then I only use my phone to check email or look at Facebook. But 95% of what counts 90% of what counts happens at my desktop. And it’s a function of the speed, the screen size, the keyboard, the the ease of having everything in front of me and also the ability to close distractions, because now I have my own office, my own rooms. So it’s geared for particular kinds of results that are almost impossible to get in other places or with other devices. So it’s where I’ve made it easy to get the job done other places, I could kind of get it done. But boy, it’s you know, just that little keyboard on my phone getting anything decent written or trying to move between multiple screens or multiple apps. Ooh, boy, it’s very, very hard. So I think I am more or less in alignment with what you said.
Art Gelwicks 8:55
Alright, I’m gonna play the counterpoint to all this. Let’s take a look at it. For the past five years, I’ve been working in a primarily client, office location based mode, which is literally live out of a bag, pack everything up in the morning, go to the site, do the work, come home. Very little was left there. Matter of fact, every day when I would leave, you could look at my desk and say, Does somebody actually even work here? Because I think the only thing I would leave behind is maybe a coffee cup. So when we think about mobile, and we think about the pandemic, and we think about all these different changes. To me, the past part, I think the three of you are talking about it exactly the way most people think about mobile, which is it’s a secondary convenience channel to the information that you normally utilize from your established workspace. So if it’s a web based application, maybe there’s an app on your phone that you can erase interact with the same set of data. So you can A quick look up, when you’re waiting in line somewhere, it’s a, it was a convenience. And it still is. The change to people working from home constantly, where they weren’t doing that before, now has two, two indications. One, four people doing what I was doing. Well, they’re not packing up and taking everything into a location. So everything’s kind of sitting where where it is. Now, they don’t have to have that mobility of back and forth. But the flip is now happened, you have people who used to live in an office location, who are now having to go through and basically set up the equivalent of a permanent mobile office, because it’s still technically not their office, they have gear somewhere else, there’s infrastructure system somewhere else. They don’t have direct connection to that. So that’s working. Imagine it working in a mobile environment. 24 seven, and that’s where we’ve gotten to, and that’s what’s forced me to backtrack a little bit and think and say, Okay, is there more than just this shift of working from home is the paradigm bigger. And the more I dig into it, and the more I try to create ideas around ways to put this stuff into place, I realized that we have to move to this mindset of, or it’s, I don’t say have to, it’s beneficial to move to this mindset of being able to work anywhere. And I use the context of people who don’t have a physical space at home to have a physical office all the time, they don’t have the benefit of having a designated set of real estate, to set stuff up and leave it there. And a lot of people are in that situation. They’re working off dining room tables, they’re working off of coffee tables, they’re working on porches, and in many cases, they’re doing it in the same time period that they’re trying to work with. They’re now mobily enabled students who are doing home based learning in the equivalent of a mobile classwork classroom. So when I look at mobility, and has it changed, I think it’s gone well beyond the concept of a convenience. This is now the norm to the rigor of do this work, where it works best. And you should be setting up your systems and making your decisions around that. Because you don’t know when that’s going to change. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that this is this is crystallized for me. Things can change on a dime. I mean, they can, you could be working at home today. And then tomorrow, you get a call that up, you’re going back into the office, well, now everything’s upside down again, for how long? So can you set yourself up to be able to work regardless, one of the things I used to do is, like I said, I used to live out of my backpack, everything was in there. And when I moved back to a home based office, my backpack sat with all that stuff for probably close to two months. I never took anything out of it. Why? Because I didn’t have to. It all sat there. But I realized that the value that that was providing me that mobile office in a bag that was providing me so much productivity before now actually became a burden, because now I had to figure out what where was stuff? Was it in the bag? Was it on my desk?
Art Gelwicks 13:29
So I’ve started to rethink this mechanism. And that’s what I’m encouraging people to do is start to think about what can you do to use mobile concepts, tablets, technology, accessible devices, web based solutions, to give you the ability to do the work that you need to do that you have to do, if we look back to the previous episode, the work that is urgent and important, get that done, without creating this unnecessary level of stress, that, well, I can’t do it because I’m not upstairs sitting in my office at my desk.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 14:09
If you bring it you bring up a really great point, which is that for me, when I think about my own work, and the way that things have changed, you know, I had my thoughts on what I did when I was on work, travel. And I had my setup for the devices and the technology and the way in which I use those when I’m on work travel. And that obviously shifted when work travel ceased to exist. And that was a, you know, it’s a big upset for me, you know, I lose the opportunity to see colleagues, I lose the opportunity to see different environments that I’m used to working in. And, and that was a that was a big hit to me. And so I think that the the goal for anyone is to think about how you’re mobile All productivity existed prior to the pandemic, and whether or not that was actually serving you, or enslaving you in some way, shape or form or just, you know, prohibiting work. And there are people like a gousto, who who embraces mobile productivity. And there are people like me who find it to be limiting, I just I generally find that mobile technologies are our limiting factors to my productivity, what, what some people can do on a on a mobile device, and I have people in my life who use their mobile phone as their primary computer. And it’s probably the vast majority of the planet that does so right, because the vast majority of the planet has come online in the past decade. And in that last decade, their primary vehicle to the internet, access to the Internet, and to computing generally, is a mobile device ism is a phone. And so I did not grow up in that world. I grew up in a world that had keyboards and large screens, and the ability to work in that space. And so my brain is very much designed around that. And it’s taken a long time for me to think about, okay, well, if I took it down to a small fault form factor, and if I thought about the technology as not being inferior, how, how would I work in that environment, and it’s gotten so much better. I know, Cousteau has many more thoughts about this than I do, or knowledge about this than I do, because he’s been using the iPad as his primary computing device for so many years. But for me thinking about it, and just the idea of utilizing the mobile technology. So taking this to kind of the Gestalt, if we, if we think about the way in which all of your technology was serving you, before the pandemic, in those early stages of the pandemic, that obviously was a hit to everybody, because we had to adjust on the fly. Now, though, we’re in a state where Yes, things can change. And to highlight Art’s point, now is the time to think, how can we change and be nimble, flexible, adaptive, in this really dynamic environment, I really do think there’s going to be more changes over the course of the next probably three to four quarters, where it’s not necessarily, oh, the pandemic is going to cause us to have more lock downs or anything else like that. Sure, there may be that, but the bigger point is that there’s going to be a shift in the way in which everybody works. And also, you know, how are the various geopolitical issues going on changing the way in which we have access to certain types of technology? And all of those things, in my mind, sort of pushed me to want to think, Okay, well, how could I utilize my mobile technology in both a better way, and in a more embracing way, right, like I, I really do feel and understand the, the, the discrimination I have, I’ve I’ve made toward those mobile devices. And I feel like that could change if I just approach them in a little bit better of a way.
Augusto Pinaud 18:18
So there is a couple of things that are interesting to mention. And yeah, there has been, you know, people like you that have had an opportunity to leave a lot more in there bigger screens and bigger keyboards and bigger mouths that what may have been before mostly because, well, if you don’t travel, you can use your bigger monitoring, you don’t that is something that you normally will not carry in the road. And and as I was listening to art, he was interested in thinking exactly what you just express in, in the case that in 2011, I decided that I was dropping every laptop and turning my main machine into the iPad. And did it was perfect at the beginning. No, it is perfect. Now pretty much is there but but there has been a lot of things that also needed to change from the way I think into how to make it iPad possible. That has changed significantly. I mean, at the beginning, you could not even open a desktop site that now you can do on the on the iPad without any issues. But one of the things this pandemic has brought is as art was describing, a lot of people who were never mobile, now suddenly find themselves mobile, even if mobile just mean you know packing to be able to go to the living room or packing to get to the porch then or you have all these kids, okay that we’re doing virtual remote schooling, whatever you want it to call and now we’re in this they go some days to school, this hybrid mode, and Even some schools that are open and close. So kids get back to school and now you have a different kind of coworker, coworker who, in many cases require a different level of attention. But also, while all this is happening, a lot of people have discover the need of all devices, the need of mobile devices, there is a lot of people who never had consider before this pandemic, do anything on their phone, other than calls that now are doing the emails and the zoom and the things because there, that’s the kids are using their other computers so they can do schooling. I mean, I understand. In this podcast, we, we may be on an abundance of technology. And I know I think all of us has more technology devices, and what mean, be willing to admit here in the Indian potkins, but not everybody have those. Okay, there I have deal with a lot of people who we have been putting all computers out of the closets computers that were considered dead, and then we have start installing, you know, cloud ready Neverwhere, as I express we cover in a previous episode of ProductivityCast. So we can then give them a Chromebook to the kids, so the kids could do school, or even in one case, the Chromebook ended up being my client’s computer. So because he was not going to take the kids out of the other machines, so one of the things that mobile technology brought at the beginning, and I’m talking about many years back, was understood that there was limited resources and how to use those limited resources to accomplish the same. One of the things that he’s interested in this pandemic has brought for many people is exactly the same is how you’re going to use the limited resources, you have to do a better job. And the difference was that when the mobile brought that thing as an engine, or when I did it, you know, I did it, because I wanted to test it, I wanted to push that boundary I wanted to know, was possible to be iPad only, or not. Now, but that was, you know, I was in a certain way, Lucas, okay, the Geek is trying to do this for the productivity guys trying to do this great. Now, this has brought to the masses, this has brought to most everybody, okay, and people who has been used, as you said, to have the big monitors at the office, or now discover, oh, and I have a monitor. You know, when when we did the interview with David Allen, it was interesting to hear, you know, share with us thing that we knew at the time, but it was interesting to new, you know, that Amazon had at that time, no desk, Amazon had at that time, no external monitors, given we were in the middle of all this pandemic, and cows and all that I get it, we were in the early stages. But it is interesting to think,
Augusto Pinaud 23:19
you know, that things like monitors and desk and this kind of things, we’re going to be out of inventory out of stock. And part of that is all these people trying to deal with a combination of lack of resources, trying to get creative with the resources, they have us. On top of that, try to work their workflow with a completely different set of resources.
Francis Wade 23:48
You’re right in pointing to everyone, all of a sudden, has to consider their physical setup. It’s as if this is a I was on a had a conference this week. And someone mentioned that this changes like the reformation, he said, it’s that big, this this entire shift that we’re making as a world. And so that’s stuck with me. But in terms of what we’re talking about, I mean, this could be thought of as big as that because no people have to do more than just make do in the short term. So going from solving the immediate crisis of how do I link to the office. So that’s an immediate crisis that you can solve with any device and as long as you have the right set up, and so in the first couple of weeks, you figured out how to do that. And then you that that got you to a particular level, but then set settling into the new normal. The question is, what principles do you use to design the new normal? You obviously don’t just stick with what you first decided for the first solution that you found that worked. You have this Also don’t go and pick up the equipment that was in the back of the closet and use that forever. You no need to actually design a physical infrastructure, including mobile work from home, you don’t need to actually think about it. But what I’ve never seen is a set of design principles that say, here are the considerations you need to bring into play. So that you can be at your optimal best, with a minimum investment. By the end of, let’s say, three months, we have some new behaviors, new technologies, kind of along the lines of some of the things rails talked about in terms of storage. That’s certainly one aspect of it. But how do you design this brand new infrastructure? And where are the principles that you use? You obviously, don’t go to? I don’t know that this I think Best Buy’s Best Buy still around in the States, the computer store in the States, you obviously just don’t go there and just throw it on 3000 bucks, buy a bunch of stuff, and carry it home and stick it in through all it. Some people do that. But that’s because there’s no there’s no design principles, I think. So I haven’t seen a scene tips. But not someone who stepped back and said, Okay, this is going to be your new normal for the next five years. Let’s see. What are the what are though? The essential elements? And how do you go about choosing them? And how do you be thoughtful in constructing a new setup. And we’ve we think about this all the time, because we’ve been the four of us have been going in this direction for a long time. But for the average person in the world who is thrown into working from home, I think this is going to be the next dilemma for them is how do I be productive in the long term. And I really don’t know where to start.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 26:51
One thing that I wanted to point out is that there has been a lot of discussion about tracking and seeing what people have been doing in the course and change of time. And while a lot of the data is muddy, and self selecting, for example, rescue time, the software that does time tracking, as well as just passive time tracking, as well as the functions of being able to block access to particular particular applications so that you can be more productive and focus on particular things. They they’ve done a bit of work, you know, McKenzie has done some studies and that kind of thing. And, like I said, a lot of this is self selecting. And so it’s really difficult to really push a specific message or theme in any direction. But what we know pretty well is that communications technologies are are now much higher than they were before I think across everything we can see, we can understand that communication technologies, whether that be using Microsoft Teams, Google meet, and Hangouts, you know, before that, including, including zoom, of course, people use zoom now as a verb, which is kind of crazy, you know, thinking that just probably 10 months ago or more people, you know, zoom, operated profitably, but in obscurity. And now today, people are talking about zoom in such a casual, everyday way. You know, I thought, Oh, well, you know, I use this technology for work. And then when people started talking about it in terms of, of everyday conversation, it was very obtuse to me, I thought, why are they talking about zoom so much. And, you know, I’ve been using it for so long, but I didn’t, I didn’t realize that it would become such a strong piece of a lot of people’s worlds. That That being the case. My thought here in kind of the context of mobile productivity is that a lot of these mobile devices are actually really great for that component. You can do video conferencing and video pieces. And a lot of what I’ve been doing and helping people with is having them set up their mobile devices as their meeting technology, so that it was a a secondary device so that they could have their primary device in front of them for notetaking. For example, you know, doing work in Evernote, I want to be able to have Evernote open on screen, and taking notes and annotating documents and all of that stuff on my desktop while I’m in a meeting, and no offense against zoom or any other technologies, but they’re just not great to have on the same screen. Even if you’re sharing screens, it’s just difficult to have things side by side I want to see one screen have one task. And so I’ve actually been utilizing a second device and having myself in the meeting on that second device while utilizing the main device for what I’m tasked with doing or vice versa. Sometimes it actually works out better that I just want to take notes. And so I’ll bump the iPad, pull out the iPad keyboard. And I will just take notes into Evernote in on the iPad while I’m in the meeting on the primary device. And that’s been really, really useful. And the great part is that, you know, you can add other devices into those, those video meetings. So even if I needed to share screen on the device I was working on, I could just go ahead and join the meeting from that device. Also, as a second me and and go ahead and share my screen from that device as well. So think think beyond the borders of how mobile productivity and mobile technologies are, you’re currently utilizing them and seeing how you can actually create workflows that increase in speed up the workflow process, so that you’re able to better get things done in real time, especially in these new environments where we are in more meetings today, in real time, because of the fact that you can’t just walk down the hall and see your colleague, you’re not seeing people in person. So we have this greater need, I think, you know, we’re social creatures, humans are social creatures, we need the need, we need that interactivity, and collaboration. And if we’re going to have more video meetings, we also have to know how to get more done in those meetings. And I’ve just found that the multiple capabilities of mobile devices really has been facilitative. In in those workflow processes so that I can actually be productive and be engaged in the meeting itself. I just don’t like the notion of of getting pulled out of the meeting tempo, because the technology is too much of a friction. To me getting things done while it’s all happening. Does anybody else have that feeling have that sense? And what have you all done in that kind of environment?
Art Gelwicks 31:57
Well, I think you’re right on target with with part of the idea. I mean, it goes back to what I was saying earlier, if we start thinking, or if we stopped thinking about mobile as a secondary Avenue, and start thinking about it as a primary one, it really changes how we think about a lot of aspects of how we interact with information, how we design things. And I’ll call out a perfect example of it as of late. If you’ve been to a restaurant recently, the odds are pretty good. There has been on the center of the table, a QR code that you’re supposed to scan to get access to the online menu, so you know what they have. So you can place your order, pre COVID, that didn’t happen, it wouldn’t happen, because there was no need for it, you could just hand out a menu. But now because of hygiene and protection against the virus, you don’t want to have those physical things. So you had to go virtual, therefore, you take advantage of a technology that’s been around for years. I mean, QR codes have been around a long time. But they’ve never gotten any real adoption in the quote, real world. But what we see is a convergence of a need contactless information exchange, and the final evolution and catching up of a platform, the mobile computing device airgo your phone that work together to meet this requirement. And if we start thinking about things that way, for example, if I want to share information with people now, I should be thinking about that the primary way they’re going to consume this unless it’s in a dedicated corporate environment where everybody’s using desktops. And this is this is what you have to consume. That mobile is just as important a channel as his other ones. Now, again, from a professional productivity thing, we get this skewed mindset, because within corporations, you wind up with target audiences that have a high mobile need, and other groups who never leave their desk. So therefore a mobile is kind of useless to them. But let’s, let’s throw that part out of it. And let’s just focus on what our specific needs are in the information we’re sharing. We’ve got to take into consideration what, where and when information will be interacted with. And the other example I wanted to bring up is, nowadays, we’re all spending more time waiting in line. I mean, it’s spent it felt like we were spending forever waiting in line before. But now you go anyplace. And you wait. And you wait. And you wait. I mean, you can wait 45 minutes to get in to pick, just pick up carry out food we’re used to be you could just walk right in and walk right out. So from a productivity standpoint, I have to ask you, are you going to waste that 45 minutes futzing around on Facebook and Instagram? Are you going to find something else you can Do you begin to think about, that’s valuable time to me, I need to find a way to put it to use and then start looking at your systems so that you’re not restricted to just that time you’re sitting in your comfy office chair, to actually being able to get anything done.
Augusto Pinaud 35:18
I think you are bringing the point that we are bringing this podcast many times that is that their mobile phone for the majority of the people Easter main device, they haven’t, they are not necessarily aware or conscious of it. But that is their main device. And as this new things are coming, it’s going to be more and more important to understand how can we get more productive into those devices. And, and again, this is not maybe for the for the four of us. But for the masses, for the people who are really spending that time on that phone, that now are going to find themselves in this environment in these situations where their phone is going to be their only device they have. But the amount of time, it’s going to be significantly larger on how this is going to really change and from the developers and the software developers and all that how this is going to affect that mobile only, or mobile first approach. Because one of the things that happened right now in many pieces of software, even many good ones is their mobile piece. It’s really limited. If you look pieces like Microsoft Word, okay, I don’t care which mobile device you’re using Microsoft Word, it’s completely different between what you can do on the web, versus the next up versus the mobile phone, even when you go Microsoft Outlook is the same thing. But we are going to start seeing now. Or people are going to start seeing now how this mobile first is start getting some importance how now? Well, if I’m spending this much time in this phone, how can I do what I was able to do on that desktop, because this is the device I have with me. And this may bring a really interesting change in the next six to 12 months.
Francis Wade 37:36
I have a contrary point of view, I think, which is that I’m spending way less time moving around. I’m the exception because I always work from home. But I wonder if people who are home bones, I’m not going to restaurants. I haven’t been to one. And I don’t know how long and I only go out for what I have to go because we’re sheltering we’re sheltering at home here in Jamaica for the most part. But my need for mobile has actually dropped mobile in the sense that I’m away from my mean, base. Because I’m not I’m no longer on the road. I’m no longer I don’t go anywhere once a week, or if I have to go somewhere. Yes, my lines are longer. So I spent the day at the DMV a few months ago, and had to come back the following week. Because after spending a day in the sun, I still didn’t get into the DMV line was outside. It was that long. It was awful. That goodness, I had that well, by foreigners, I probably would have gone crazy. But that really was just one day, not I think about it. If I spent two days outside of my office, if I had to make two trips outside of my, my home per week. That’s a lot. So my need for actual mobility outside of my home base has dropped. And I wonder if other folks aren’t going through that also. It’s a huge change in my behavior. I’ve actually gotten rid of my expensive data plan because I was using it. I’ve gone to prepaid. I switch back to paid from postpaid.
Art Gelwicks 39:08
No, and it’s a very valid point, Francis, I mean, we we have thought about mobility as outside. I mean, a wave literally away away. As the definition of mobility for the longest time. You’re either at your desk or you’re not at your desk. Well maybe that’s actually the way we need to think about it. It just the not at your desk doesn’t necessarily mean outside your house doesn’t necessarily mean you know, out on the road somewhere as a sales Road Warrior. It could literally mean in your living room, versus where you normally work. If you have a setup like I have a fairly locked down setup on my working desk now I have my machines Wired In. I have plugs hooked up. I have microphones hooked up at all. That’s great. If I wanted to go work in my living room, just because I couldn’t just because I’m tired of looking at the same walls, it would take a while to dismantle this setup, and move to a new location. This is not mobily designed, I use other tools to do that I use a Chromebook, I use my phone, I use it. And that, to me, is where we have to think about mobility. Mobility isn’t just measured in miles. It’s measured in mental steps. How many steps away? Can you take from your primary point of work, and still be productive? And we hear a lot of this I got myself really riled up because you got companies like JP Morgan Chase, or JP Morgan, who are going, Oh, you know, we’re losing productivity on Mondays and Fridays, people aren’t working as hard at home, and they need to come back into the office, I’m like, Well, honestly, if you can’t get productive productivity out of your people on Mondays, and Fridays, you don’t know how to manage. But that’s a whole different, different podcast. But what it comes back to is execution of what you need to do. If it’s tied to a physical location, and it must be done in that spot, and you, you cannot do anything else to get that work done. But be in that spot. Yeah, we’re going to have some of that work. And that’s just the nature of the beast. But it doesn’t have to be all of your work. It doesn’t have to be all of your things, the mental benefit of being able to go and just walk through your email or your to do list. sitting outside, just on your front porch, is massive. It is a huge benefit to us right now, especially with the stress and the emotional challenge that so many people are having with this kind of disconnect. But no, what have we done in many cases, we’ve created home cubes, we’ve created our little cube at home that we had at work. And now we’re doing the exact same thing we used to. This is an opportunity to change the dynamic from the ground up and give ourselves a chance. And we have to do the same things. And I say this from a productivity standpoint, not only from a personal standpoint, but helping others, you have to be just as cognizant of the other people you’re working with that their environment is now totally different as well. Because in a corporate space, everybody was at same office, everybody had the same gear, you could count on this, there was a level playing field, that’s not the case anymore. And everyone needs to take that into consideration for everyone else. And mobility is a way to do that. It creates that lowest common denominator. Maybe somebody is not going to have the best laptop out there or the best machine or the best phone. But they still need to access the information. Therefore, how do we put this stuff in a way that the majority can use it. And that’s whether it’s individual, or organizational or family or whatever. Being able to do what you need to do, where you need to do with when you need to do it, is what productivity is really all about.
Francis Wade 43:23
I think that’s why I said I use my so in addition to my office, my office setup where I have a laptop, so I take my laptop down downstairs at least three times a week, in this case is to play is to play Swift, which is a cycling simulation game. But I would be in big trouble if I had a desktop and I couldn’t move downstairs Dude, I couldn’t couldn’t do what I do. My wife has more is more is better Case in point because she has a workspace downstairs. She when we need to 60 brings her laptop up to my office, when she needs to she puts it down on the ground and does yoga, she streams yoga in and when she needs to do it. She’s watching on Netflix. So she uses her laptop for all those for four purposes in five different locations that I can think of in the house. And again, I can’t I can’t say that we sat down I thought that through says that. Like we said, let’s design it so that it’s just kind of evolved that way. But if we had made the wrong decision on gotten her a desktop, she wouldn’t be doing any of those seem to be doing one of those things, but not all. So there’s there’s there’s decisions that need to be made ahead of time. If you can think about what am I going to use this for and what’s the optimal way to set it up.
Art Gelwicks 44:43
This really goes back to that point that I make so often which is understand your tools, learn your tools, learn the things that you can do on your phone or your tablet or your Chromebook, push them to their limits, because you’ll find more and more options. unities to give yourself freedom, then if you sit there and say, Well, I don’t have word on the desktop, so I can’t do a document, I can’t update a document. That’s not true. That’s not true at all, you can figure out a way to make it happen. It’s just a matter of coming up with those ideas and taking a little bit of time to learn your tools, and be able to execute on it. This segues
Raymond Sidney-Smith 45:23
really nicely into really what you think mobile technologies can do to better support productivity going forward. And on from my perspective, for, you know, the last several years, Chromebooks have been able to install and utilize Android applications. And so I have felt this, you know, synergy between my mobile devices and the desktop environment, because they were capable of being connected in that way. I, you know, I’m on the Google Pixel platform. So I’m using an Android, you know, pure Android environment. And when I go to my, you know, Chromebook, I can just open up the Chromebook. I’m in the browser environment, I use predominantly web based technologies. So all the web based software is there and ready for me, when I need an Android application. There is, you know, there is parity between the Android applications on my phone and the Android applications on the Chromebook. And I’m good to go. And so even when I’m that, you know, again, in that perspective, that it’s a secondary device for me, typically, when I’m sitting at my desk, I’m able to utilize those pieces together in Confluence. The now Microsoft is testing and is bringing to scale the your phone application. So if you’re using Windows 10, and I’m presuming Pretty soon, I’m not sure where they are in the in the course of this, but I know that they’re using the, the the testing, what is it called windswell, Windows Insider testing, is, is testing the ability for you now to have all of your applications, your your Android applications from your phone accessible on the desktop. So you’re now able to seamlessly use your desktop software and your Android software in the same environment. And this is going to, I think this is going to be huge for people. You know, Francis, you noted earlier in the show that, you know, being able to use Instagram on your phone is a limitation because it’s only capable of being utilized on the phone. While now you would you would lose that limitation. And you would gain the ability to then have Instagram on the desktop. So these things are changing. We’re seeing these changes, what are the things you feel like arm needed to bring forward the the technology so people can be more productive? What are what are some quick thoughts you have there? Before we close out,
Art Gelwicks 48:00
I would say I’ve got probably three, three quick ones, one, using mobile applications and web based applications over dedicated desktop ones, whenever possible, I think that creates that mental shift as well as forcing the information to be in consumable platforms that are applicable to other devices, too, I think we’ve hit you’ll hear it referred to often we’ve hit peak phone, we have more phone or phone, we have more pocket computing devices now that are more powerful than desktops than we’ve ever had. I would I don’t know the numbers, but I’m pretty sure that the phone I’m holding right now is more powerful than my laptop when it comes down to metrics. And third, and probably the most important thing is that mental change of saying that I’m going to grab my mobile device to do this work first. Rather than saying, I’m going to go sit down at my desk to do this, that shift, the ability to make that shift, I think is what changes this game up.
Augusto Pinaud 49:05
But there was a comment that was made really interesting. Today on the show is how this changes this is five years. And the reality is we don’t know if this is going to be two more months or 12 more months or five more years, but we know is going to be most likely somewhere in between that time and is going to be a lot longer than what people expect. So if you think that this current situation is going to be that long, or it’s going to be longer than what you are considering right now, let’s say 12 months, or 24 months, how your mobile requirements and how would you use your mobile in the ways we have been discussed today will be different. And that may be interesting for many people.
Art Gelwicks 49:56
See, but I’ll just throw in here real fast. Good gousto I’m gonna make the art meant that this should not be, I want to say situationally driven pandemic, or no, the benefits that you can reap from this change of thinking are huge. It creates the opportunity for new ideas and new ways of tackling this, it just happens to be that this is being forced, rather than eased into, I think that’s probably not a bad thing. Because we’ve seen how long we’ve had mobile devices, and yet they have kind of plotted along as second class status is to getting work done. And yet, now, they have to be bumped up the listing. That’s just me, though,
Francis Wade 50:42
if I mentioned before, my friend who said this is like a reformation is that when you’re in a reformation, you don’t really know what’s happening, we don’t quite see the big time impact. But 100 years from now, they could look back at 2020. And said, that’s when it really started, when all the capability for more mobile power was there. But the acceleration was missing, it was just a matter of you do it if you like it, and the designers paid attention to it if they wanted to. But the technology was there sitting waiting. And it wasn’t until the pandemic of 2020, that all of a sudden, everyone had to use it. And they had to work from home. And they had to design their own work environments. And they had to consider all these factors that we’ve been talking about. And in looking back, they could see that 2020 is when the technology revolution really started all of it all that happened before that was just Prelude.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 51:38
So the one thing that I can offer folks as we close out is Wi Fi connectivity and or physical connectivity to your internet, I think that if we’re going to have a better mobile experience, you need to figure out your Wi Fi connectivity. And unfortunately, that does require you to do a little bit of research and figure out what is best for your environment to be able to have that strong connection, wherever you might be working at home. And this has been a huge struggle for a lot of people. And so I don’t really have an easy answer there. Because it’s not like, oh, if you buy this product, you’re going to be fine. The reality is, is that depending upon your your internet connection, depending upon the strength of the internet connection, where you are in the country, all of those things are different. So I guess side note, right to your, you know, representatives and tell them to to shore up the broadband and internet and internet infrastructure generally, in this country, I think that, you know, everybody deserves internet access, it should be a human right here. And and but at the same time, in your in your home, you just have different spots, you might have dead spots where mobile connectivity may not work and where your, you know, mobile broadband connection may be lower than better. And so all of these things need to be kind of cleared up. But a lot of the problems go away when you fix connectivity. And so investing in that, that home based connectivity will not only help work, but just productivity generally, because you’re able to get things done faster, when you don’t have to fight with, you know, streaming information or whatever it might be. At any given time. I feel like that’s one of the the best things you can do in your environment, because that will help your desktop environment that will help your mobile technology. And that’ll help everybody in the household really be more productive throughout the day. With that we are at the end of our discussion, but we but the conversation doesn’t have to stop here. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to visit the episode page on ProductivityCast dotnet. And there in the comment section on the page, you can leave a comment or question and we welcome those. If you are on ProductivityCast dotnet. On each episode page, note that you’ll find show notes along with a machine generated transcript. So you can either you know expand it and read it or you can download it as a PDF. And that way you can jump to links in the show notes. From there, you can also read through the transcript and find points in the discussion and reference those if you need to. If you have a topic about personal productivity you’d like us to discuss on a future cast, feel free to visit productivitycast.net forward slash contact, you can leave a voice recorded message I think under a minute. And you can also type a message to us and hit Send and that will go ahead and send submit a form to us for feedback. And maybe we’ll feature that on a future episode. I want to express my thanks to a goose to pinout Francis Wade and Arctic Alex, for joining me here on ProductivityCast. This week, every week. You can learn more about them by visiting productivitycast.net. And just clicking on the who we are about page and clicking on the links there and finding them as well. I’m resending Smith and on behalf of all of us here, I ProductivityCast Here’s your productive life.
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.