Technology is now embedded into our daily lives, from sunrise to sundown, and beyond. Much of it is useful to my life and work, yet I would argue that some of it is a distraction the detracts from my daily experiences. Ensuring this balance continues to be a challenging priority. In describing my day with technology, I will work to highlight the benefits as well as unnecessary distractions.
My day with technology begins at 5:30 A.M. with the alarm of my smartphone waking up. This is a definitive pro or benefit. On a good day I will roll straight out of bed at this point. On a day where I am looking for an excuse to put off the day, if I am tired, or if it is excessively cold outside, I will pick up my phone and mindlessly blast through various news websites or Twitter. This is a distinct problem, as it takes precious time away from my morning routine.
From there, I usually head out for a long stroll with my dog Rex – Assuming it is warmer than -40, with wind gusts below 80 km/hr. My smartphone helps with this. With the simple morning walk, I rely on my smartphone and smartwatch to both track the walk and provide auditory entertainment in the form of an audiobook. Presently, I am listening to “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell. For the most part, I view technology as a useful tool in my morning walks.
From there I move on to a quick breakfast where my smartphone again comes into play in the form of Wordle or reading the news. Both the Wordle and news are activities that more or less existed before the tech boom in the form of the daily paper. While breakfast could probably be done without the news, it is nice to get caught up before heading to work.
The route to work also consists of a large dose of technology. Of course, today’s cars are essentially computers with wheels. Whether it be the active systems like navigations and apple care play, or the systems in the background the control the cars operations. Technology in this sense that has made our daily lives and commutes safer.
Once at work, like many of my colleagues have already mentioned, the first thing I typically do (after make coffee of course), is to turn on my computer. Once on, the first order of business is no refresh my Outlook inbox. Some of the emails are brand now, while others I was alerted to previously, but have yet to address. This is a continuing theme throughout the day. As the workday goes on a variety of technological tools are related on whether it be the Microsoft office suite (outlook, excel, word, PowerPoint), or Zoom whereby face to face meetings can take place without leaving the office. Undoubtedly, these tools make work tasks easier, and more efficient. The only critique would be that the constant connectivity (mainly email) makes it feel that work truly never takes a break. Since the connectivity is always there, it is up to me to make the decision or choice to disconnect.
After the workday, I again find myself tapping into technology; typically, a smart tv where I observe “the news” over dinner or take in a show.
Similar to how my day begins, it also ends with phone in hand, aimlessly scrolling various news or sometimes social applications. If it ended there, it probably wouldn’t be okay. However, there are also times throughout the day where technology becomes a distraction whether it be in the from of checking apps for updates or viewing the prices of stocks multiple times per day. Introspectively, I find it wild that I check stocks once a week let along multiple times a day as I don’t plan on selling them for decades; however, with the technology that is at our fingertips, it is all too easy.
"The washing machine changed the world more than the internet"
So, while technology has undoubtedly contributed to making my workday easier and more efficient, it may be costing me more than the time saved in the time that is wasted unnecessarily using it. Which begs the question: is it worth it? There was a quote in a book I once read that said “the washing machine changed the world more than the internet”. While that is debatable, it certainly has it’s merits. With the time saved by the washing machine (and industrial revolutions in general), humans were free to pursue other things. With the time saved by technology many of us simply take that saved time and give it back in the form of scrolling.
Personally, I need to sharpen the focus of my technology use, so as to maximize the benefits it can bring.