This is why WhatsApp is bad news for your productivity

Updated: Oct 16, 2018

Having all of your communication in one place may seem like a good idea, surely having everything in one place is a great way to save time and energy right? I believe this is a myth.

Let me give you an example. Let's say you go to message a client and so you open WhatsApp to do so with good intentions. You then see a bunch of other messages lined up waiting for you. There's one from your partner saying "what would you like for dinner?" and another from a friend saying "are you free on Friday?" There's a group message with two of your friends going at it bantering each other off while the rest of you in the group watch on and enjoy the entertainment. This is fine if you have an unlimited amount of time, but you don't. Today's world is busy.

Just by looking at WhatsApp you've just opened a can of worms. If you do reply to all of the messages then you are eating into work time and simply putting off what needs to be done. If you don't reply to them then your cognition will be slowed down until you do attend to them, as our brains are designed to stay focused on unfinished tasks or mysteries. This is why you can't wait to watch the next episode on Netflix, they leave you on a cliff hanger at the end to keep you hooked. It's called the Zeigarnik effect, we love a mystery.

As Cal Newport described in his book Deep Work, businesses are losing chunks off their bottom line using technology inefficiently, just because everyone else is doing it. He says that profits are being lost in a metric black hole. If businesses and start ups knew the full costs of using technology in such a way, they would wake up and take action.

Big love