Using the Right Tools

Using the Right Tools

I’ve talked about how you can take a tool that is not quite right and make it work for you. This is good if you cannot use a tool optimally, or don’t really know how to use it fully. There are times, though, when you do know how to use a tool, but are forced to use a sub-optimal or substitute tool. And this can be a major hit to your productivity.

I am an IT consultant in my day job. I do supplemental staffing, where I go into a client site and provide an extra pair of hands and expertise to help them get through a job. I have also done project-based work for clients as well, where there is a definite start, end and outcome.

My employer has provided me with a laptop, but most clients prefer that I use one of their machines. This is usually due to the sensitive nature of the industry (for example, banking or health care). These client machines are what I use to accomplish the client aims. It follows that if they give me substandard equipment, my productivity is not going to be what it would be with better tools.

Yet so often when I walk into a client site I am presented with something that is not up to the tasks I need to do on it. My current client, who has provided me good machine, hampered the entire team by forcing us to share a server where we were constantly overwriting each other’s work. It was solved by a $100 additional hard drive for each of us.

So how many hours each week do you lose because you are working with equipment that doesn’t support what you need to do? Whether it is home or work, ask yourself if the cost of lost productivity is worth not spending the money. And if it is work-related, make the case for getting the tools you need to do the job.

After all, you can’t even cut paper with a dull scissors.