We talk a lot about distractions, but it is helpful to realize that overall productivity is actually up from what it was 30 years ago. This is from the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Things Done:
Without offering an involved and wearisome discussion about rising productivity levels, let me simply say that today’s career professional, frittering and all, could beat the pants off of yesteryear’s career professional in terms of getting things done.
Today, workers in all types of organizations, including government, non-profit sector groups, health care, and education as well as private industry, devote a slightly higher percentage of their time to the tasks and responsibilities for which they actually were hired, and they have advanced tools that aid them in ways that the workforce ancestry could hardly imagine.
Although I wasn’t around thirty years ago (at least in the workforce), it seems to me that in spite of all the complications and information overload of the modern work environment, people do indeed get a lot done.
There’s still a lot of improvement that we can make, and our execution could become a lot smoother and more fulfilling, but the current work environment has a lot of good news. It’s worth keeping in focus that we don’t have before us simply (or even mainly) challenges to overcome (although there are a lot of those), but rather opportunities to capitalize on.