How Does Technology Keep Wasting Our Time?

Do you get behind a computer to start work, or to browse for “just a few minutes” only to realize that hours have passed, and you still have not accomplished a quarter of what you set out to do? If this sounds familiar, rest easy in knowing that you are not alone. Technology’s black hole of time has a grip on nearly everyone today, and it is stripping away productivity and happiness. Technology has the potential to be great as a productivity tool. However, most people find that it soon becomes nothing but a time sink.

What Tech is Eating Your Time?

Almost every piece of technology in our possession, the items we love and can’t bear to be without, takes up precious time. The smartphones in the pocket, the computer on the desk, and the tablet on the nightstand are some of the biggest culprits. Of course, people have always had distractions that take up time, but it has never been as prevalent as it is today. It is nearly impossible to go to the store or to go out to dinner without seeing people with their heads down looking at a screen while furiously typing away.

The Internet is the heart of it all, really. As important and beneficial as the web can be, it can also be a downfall for many, just as too much of anything can be bad for you. Once you recognize that a large amount of your missing time comes from technology, you can examine your routine and start to find little ways that you can start to take back more of your time.

Stop Being So Social

One of the first things that you need to consider is just how social you are on the web. This naturally means the social networks, but it goes beyond those. Consider the amount of time that you spend on the social networks for fun or for business. Actually take the effort to track the amount of time you are spending on those sites and tally it for the week. The number will likely shock you. Even if you are just on the sites for ten minutes here or there, this can pile up to hours each week. You don’t have to be on those sites quite that often!

In addition to sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, think about how often you check your email through the day. Constantly checking the email and responding is a big time waster. Instead of checking all the time, you can schedule certain times of the day to check and respond to the emails.

Phone calls are another tech time waster, as is texting. However, it is far more difficult to ignore text messages and actual calls. In fact, most would consider it rude to do that. However, you can take steps to reduce the time you are spending. First, keep your texts short, and make sure the people texting you know you are busy. Just make sure you let them know in a tactful manner. Keep your phone calls short and to the point as well. Have excuses for getting off the phone so you aren’t wasting too much time.

Of course, you do have exceptions for these rules. If you are talking with your kids or parents, or a friend, you can have a bit more leeway than if you were talking to a business associate or someone who just wants to chat about nothing.

Tips for Keeping Focused on the Computer

The computer is a huge time drain, but you don’t have to let it get the better of you. With the tips that follow, you can make the computer the productive tool it should be rather than a time vampire!

First, make sure you keep on the task at hand. This is one of the most difficult things to do. Have a plan of what you need to do on the computer, complete the task, and get off. Don’t let Google grab you!

Second, consider the apps you are using on the computer. If you have too many applications open, they can slow down your computer. This causes you to sit there and wait while the computer struggles to keep up. Close the programs you don’t need, and consider restarting the computer, as it can make things run faster. If you are wasting just ten minutes a day because of slow programs, that’s close to an hour in the work week. You could do plenty of productive things with that extra hour.

Third, consider the browser. The browser is the gateway to the Internet. Close it so you don’t have the temptation to click over to YouTube to watch a video. Unless you are actively using the web for your current project, close the browser.

Fourth, keep your other devices off and out of reach. When you are on the computer, if your phone is in reach, you might be reaching for it and checking texts and playing with apps. Turn them off or put them in the drawer to limit the temptation.

Here’s a final tip that those who have to work on the computer often should really consider. Add a second display. This can help quite a bit, but it is something that few people consider. When you have two monitors up and running, it can help to increase your efficiency. You can have one program, such as Photoshop open on one screen and your references open on another. Having a second display opens up a world of other possibilities.

Track Your Time to Gauge Technology Time Wasters

Most people have a love/hate relationship with technology. It’s helpful and impossible to imagine living without it. However, if you aren’t careful, it can get the better of you. If you haven’t considered it yet, think about tracking your time for a week or two at least, just to see how much time you are spending with technology. It might be far more than you realize.


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