4568372067_cdab6de16b_mThese days, efficiency seems to be the name of the game. Or at least one of the names. With everyone trying to cram more and more productivity into less and less time, this is not surprising. Every week it seems like there is a new tool intended to optimize efficiency, whether it’s an email application, an iPhone app, or a quicker way to communicate with co-workers. Any way you look at it, tools for maximizing how much you can do are hot finds.

At its core, the concept of increasing your efficiency is not a bad one, of course. We have talked here often about how much marketers are inundated with new platforms, new tools, new information, new markets, new market research, and more. Sifting through all of that information in addition to handling your every day chores can be downright overwhelming. However, one has to wonder if this new emphasis on efficiency is actually detracting from some of the engagement marketers have previously experienced in their work. One has to wonder if the new emphasis is actually, at times, a distraction from what the focus really should be.

Take, for example, the trendy emphasis on getting to “inbox zero.” This means that all of your emails have been sorted appropriately, trashed, or in some way moved out of your active inbox. This sounds like a great idea, and if you can actually attain “inbox zero” you will be able to give the impression that you are highly organized, proactive, and on top of everything. If you are not already at inbox zero, however, how much time are you willing to invest in getting there? How much time creating a more efficient work environment could actually be spent working on new business initiatives or giving that client presentation one last look-over?

Another example of efficiency tools creating a negative impact (in our opinion, anyway) are automated blog sharing platforms like Triberr and Buffer. The tools themselves are fabulous if you are using social media. With simple clicks of your mouse, you can schedule posts at regular intervals throughout the day (and night). Sharing content, both your own and that of others, has never been easier. Triberr also makes networking easier because you can invite all of your favorite bloggers into one group. What do we miss when we strive for more efficient content promotion, however? Consider that on Triberr, reading the post on the person’s blog is an option, not a necessity. In fact, you don’t really even need to read the post at all. You can simply click “approve” and everything else is taken care of for you. There’s no better demonstration of efficiency, but your heart has been taken out of the process when you simply click “approve” 100 times. You’re no longer reading posts. You’re no longer giving bloggers that much esteemed blog traffic. You’re not commenting. In fact, you might not even know what you’re actually sharing if you opt not to read the posts.

Is efficiency at this price really worth it?

Of course, not all efficiency maximizers require that kind of sacrifice. PR expert Shonali Burke recently listed 20 great tools that help her maximize her time. None of them really require a displacement of passion, unless you really enjoy handwriting your schedule a month at a time. However, it seems plausible that in our collective efforts to become super human, we are actually losing our human-ness. We’re taking our hearts out of the game.

What do you think?

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurajo/4568372067/ via Creative Commons