Technology is awesome. An endless supply of information lies at our fingertips. It has given us unimaginable scientific advancements. It ventures to bring us to the edges of the universe and helps us to explore the depths of the sea. Technology keeps us connected with loved ones, it allows us to reminisce in ways that were never possible, and it also provides endless entertainment. Due to technology, we can check off seven items on our to-do list in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.
When used wisely, technology can afford us more time to enjoy leisure activities and pursue our passions. For many of us, however, we assert that technology saves us time when in reality we have become lost in its boundless web. Consider the five statements we often make about the following technological advancements and the reality of what usually happens.
“Everything I do I can do faster because of computers.”
REALITY: It takes you 2 hours to start getting into you work because you have to check your email, peruse 4 social media sites, and play a (not-so) quick game of Candy Crush/Solitaire/etc.
“I can communicate so quickly that I can have more time to pursue hobbies, work remotely, relax, and/or develop a business idea.”
REALITY: People just expect you to work more and respond quicker so that your “me time” essentially disappears. See my blog on the vanishing pause time for more information on how we have less time to “just be” as a result of technological advancements.
“I can know anything in an instant without doing lengthy research.”
REALITY: You fall down a research rabbit hole of checking sources, clicking on links, watching videos, and searching hundreds of sites for every bit of information that exists on said topic. Furthermore, there is a good chance you end up forgetting the initial question and start looking at memes of cats for about an hour.
4. Video Streaming (i.e., Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
“I can watch whatever I want whenever I want, so I can live my awesome life and just watch TV when I have nothing to do or simply want to.”
REALITY: You binge on TV shows. It starts innocently. Perhaps you have decided to see what everyone is raving about, so you decide to watch the first episode of something. Then that episode ends, “WHAT WAS THAT? I have to see what happens next.” A few episodes later, you look at the clock: “one more and I’ll still have enough time to get a decent night sleep.” Next thing you know, you are watching your 10th episode to the warm glow of the rising sun.
5. Smart phones
“I can do anything, anywhere, anytime.”
REALITY: There’s a really good chance you waste a lot time reading things like 16 model trains that will change your life or 68 ways you know you are a human being. Not to mention, when you answer a business call at the beach, technology removes you from your moment of rest. The second you take out your phone, your phone takes you out of your life.
Don’t get me wrong. The above statements are partial truths as technology can in fact save time and expand our world. However, we tend to mindlessly fall into time-sucking rabbit holes where we trick ourselves into believing we are doing very important things, when in reality we are disconnecting from our lives. For technology to improve our lives, we must choose for it to save time so that we can mindfully engage with our world.