Taking Control of Technology
Never enough hours in the day? What if you could ‘find’ more time? Technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to managing our time? This article will give you advice on taking control of technology and how to make you work and live smarter.
Where Does the Time Go?
We all describe ourselves as busy. We all say that there are not enough hours in the day. However, we are wasting some hours that we could reclaim and use more productively.
Social media is excellent when used in the right way. However, we are often left scrolling long after we have finished reading the post or post we logged in to look at. If you are one of the billion Facebook users worldwide[i], you may want to establish exactly how long you spend on social media to check where your time is going. By downloading one of the many Apps available (eg. Qualitytime [ii]) you can check usage and enforce limits. You may be surprised by your findings!
So much of our entertainment doesn’t have a stop or pause button now. We could scroll on apps all day, and it would never end; ‘catch up’ TV takes us from one episode to the next, and we get lost in time. The technology is not designed to stop us after 30 minutes.
Is Technology a Blessing or a Curse?
Technology can, however, have its advantages if we use it correctly to manage our time.
Allocating time to tasks is proving to be more effective than writing a more traditional ‘To do’ lists. Using your online calendar means that you are committing time to that task and prioritising it. If something happens, you reallocate the task to a different time and date rather than just leave it on the list for another date.
Apps are available to help us manage the personal ‘To do’ lists similar to how we would manage a task list in the workplace. Apps like Asana[iii] allow us to list, prioritise, allocate dates, allocate individuals and keep track of what has been completed and what is outstanding.
Using similar techniques at home in our personal lives, to how we would manage ourselves in the workplace, can be very effective. Technology, when used in the right way can have a positive impact on this.
Are You Taking Control of Technology?
Do you control your technology or does your technology control you? Answering these questions may help you decide.
Do you mute notifications from certain Apps or during certain times so that you choose when you have a look at what social media wants to share with you?
When you don’t want to be distracted, do you use the flight mode, turn off notifications or even switch your phone off?
Do you take your phone with you everywhere or do you have certain times when it is left in another room? Meal times or certain times with family/partner?
Technical Advances Leading to Behaviour Change
Not that long ago, there was a time when you would have to wait to speak to someone after 6pm because the call was cheaper. If you sent an email you would have to wait until they were back in the office to pick it up. If someone was on holiday, they were actually out of the office and not taking the office with them; people waited until they got back from holiday or found someone else to deal with whatever had arisen.
As our technology improves and increases in its capability, our behaviours are changing. We are becoming less patient. The need for instant access or an instant response is increasing. Behaviours of slowing down or waiting for anything are less of a norm now. This is impacting how we manage our time. We are putting pressure on ourselves to provide an immediate response to others, or to ensure that we are always accessible to people when actually this is not often the case.
In a similar way to allocating time to our tasks on the ‘To do’ list, we can do this with social activity and time out! Schedule a break, a walk, a gym session, time with friends, time to read, even time on social media!
Is Technology Making you Smart or Stressed?
Technology enables us to work smarter. Are you using it to work smarter or simply more?
Are you aware of where you are spending your time? Is it productive time that is taking you closer to your goals and how you want to spend your time?
Where are you ‘losing time’? If you could ‘find time’ what would you use it for? It may be to read more? If so, why not try reading a chapter before checking social media in the evening. That should help you achieve your goal to read more and spend less time on social media – not sleeping less!