There's a big difference between working hard and working smart — and that’s where technology comes into play

As humans, most of us spend over 30 per cent of our lives at work. And when we transmogrify into mules, donkeys and dogs at the workplace, the number increases alarmingly to 50 per cent. Spending half our lives in the office is bad enough, so why make it worse by working hard as well? The problem is, most of us don’t know the difference between working hard and working smart.

This is explained better by ‘Gates Theory of Diminishing Productivity’, which states that 20 per cent of all employees spend 80 per cent of their time staring at Windows Office while the other 80 per cent spend 100 per cent of their time staring out of their office windows. In other words, what you choose to stare at determines how hardworking you are.

One of the first steps to making your boss believe that you’re the man is by making your presence felt in conference rooms, during brainstorming sessions, meetings and presentations. What you need to do is spew jargon until it impresses the right people. Just Google ‘bullshit generator’, and you’ll be surprised at the sheer volume of bovine droppings present online. So how do these corporate poop creators work? By stacking three columns of words, of which the first set could be actions, the second, descriptors, and the third, systems, for instance. So, at your command, the site pulls out a word randomly from each column, puts them together and magically creates phrases for you to fling around, such as ‘mesh best-of-breed architectures’, ‘integrate user-centric paradigms’ or ‘disintermediate enterprise supply-chains’. If you’re in IT, there are sites that specialise in jargon that might interest you, such as ‘beta-test authentic APIs’, ‘capture peer-to-peer blogospheres’ and ‘share semantic tagclouds’.

If you need something a bit more pompous to suit the environment, go for sites that create entire statements, such as ‘Double-digit throughput increase impact compliant market opportunities reaped from our organic efficiency gain, whereas the clients enhance the situational paradigms’. Such a statement has enough to power you to the corner cabin. If you are in HR and have the unenviable job of handing over titles to a million minions, opt for sites that can generate job titles. Fancy designations such as Customer Usability Associate, Dynamic Quality Representative and Forward Assurance Architect are sure to leave your employees in such a state of euphoria that you won’t have to give them a raise.

Besides the conference room, another key location in your office where appearing busy and seeming productive helps is your workstation. A simple but effective way to do that is by downloading an Excel sheet screensaver that will make it look as if you are busy working on an Excel file whenever your computer is idle, which is probably the whole day. If you can’t download the file because of admin restrictions, fear not. You could make it more authentic by converting your existing Excel sheet into a screensaver.

So the choice is really between what Garfield says and what Garfield says. You could go with the former President of the U.S. James A Garfield who said, “If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it’s the best possible substitute for it,” or concur with Garfield, The Cat who believed, “Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” If you believe in the latter, you’re in luck — technology is right here to give you a helping hand.

(sureshl.india@ gmail.com)

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