It’s been asserted that if you are from the Baby Boomer generation, then you are using the widest variety of work tools of any generation.
Call us the Analog generation. We began our careers with legal pads and Bic pens and IBM Selectric typewriters. We were devoted to our Franklin Covey planners (I still miss that brick I used to carry everywhere; the one my daughter used to call my “man purse”) and then we adapted to fax machines. And now, us Boomers are using tablets running Asana, Slack, EverNote, and Facebook. Caught in the middle of this unprecedented shift, Baby Boomers now use $400 MonteBlanc pens while slipping an iPad into the slot in their leather notepads alongside a yellow legal pad.
The truth is that a Copernican revolution is underway in the manner in which work is being done. Have you ever seen a 30 year old carrying a beautiful, leather bound planner to capture their entire work life? Of course not. On the other hand, Baby Boomers just cannot get that pen out of their hands despite the fact that they also are holding a smartphone, which is really a supercomputer with the ability to access nearly all of the world’s recorded information. It is also a digital voice recorder, text and email generator, and an electronic notepad capable of being instantly shared with the world. The digital generation in the workforce has shifted away from these old tools in favor of team collaboration software like Teamwork, Zoho, or Asana in order to accomplish more, in less time in this new virtual workplace. They eschew spiral bound notebooks in favor of keeping all their thinking in EverNote along with their grocery lists. They collaborate with their colleagues around the world, many of whom they have not and may never even meet in person, using cloud-based apps that coordinate team projects better than any other tool in history. And they carry all this around with them, all the time, in their smartphones.
Baby Boomers, it is time to change. If you are over 40, I am talking to you: Drop the pen and back away from the email app! There are much, much better ways to be more productive in less time than filling up legal pad after legal pad with your daily notes and cc’ing emails to scores of colleagues, just in case you know. I feel your pain when you complain that it is too much to learn, too much to keep up with. Walk over to your window, open it, and like the character Howard Beale in the 1976 movie ‘Network’ scream, “I’m mad as h_ _ _ and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Got that out of your system? Good! Now walk back to your desk, toss your pen in the back of a drawer and throw your legal pad in the waste basket and go online and learn how to use Asana and Slack. It’s a new world of work with a whole new set of tools and if you don’t want to go the way of the dinosaur, it is time to learn!