We’ve Always Done it This Way

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I found this ledger in an antique store. It chronicles the ailments seen by a local Doctor in 2002. I’m not kidding, it was dated 2002 – 2005. To think that only sixteen years ago some poor office manager or medical personnel had to write by hand each patient’s information each time they visited. It seems like a lot of work in an office where technology was available. I wonder why they did use it? Had they always done it this way and it was uncomfortable to change? Were they scared to learn? Maybe it was too expensive to buy all the equipment and learn the software? The reasons why could be infinite. Something did make them change. If they were selling the ledger, obviously someone made them get rid of these records.

How many times have we done things because that is how they have always been done. I worked in an office where everything was very paper centric. Everything was printed, copied, filed, then refiled for each client each time there was a meeting. Employees had stacks and stacks of paper of their desk waiting to be filed. Every two weeks we spent Friday afternoons filing – everyone – to catch up on the piles to get ready for more piles the next week. When I asked why we needed so much paper, someone actually answered, “This is how we’ve always done it.” They were used to it and thought it was easier; they had a routine and why change it now?

I attended a function where people were organizing an event. They talked about the history of why and how and where, almost to ward off any ideas of changing anything. We spent many meetings talking about how to do it the same as last year, until one brave person asked about making a change. You would have thought they wanted to outlaw ice cream! They were jumped on like wolves on meat because it had always been done that way and we needed to keep doing it that way.

I’m sure you have your own stories about things being done the same way all the time. When I saw the ledger in the antique store I wondered what I was doing in my own life that could use a little updating? How could I leverage technology to make my life easier? Who did I know that did things effectively from which I could learn? And where could I help someone else learn a more efficient way to do things?

None of us need more technology in our lives, however we can use it to give us back some time. Instead of keeping things bottled up in our heads seeping out our ears as we try to keep track of it all, why not use the ever present phone app to help us keep it safe? Or we can only put information on our computers and let our phones actually be phones.  By being smart and proactive about how we want to use technology and when we want to stay old school, WE remain in charge of our lives instead of being tied to outdated methods or taken over by technological gadgets. WE get to choose where and how we use new methods to make our lives better, which is code for more time with family, friends and being creative.

So next time you are tempted to do what you do the same old way, think. Is there a tool or technology that can allow me to buy back hours of my life? Is there a smarter way to do this? Who can help me do this better…then reward them with milk and cookies you eat face to face while turning your phones on mute.

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