The internet and technology robs us of our time
Holistic time management aims to improve the whole life of an individual, not just his or her efficiency and effectiveness.
Michael Harris, in his book, Absence: Reclaiming what we’ve lost in a world of constant connection, points out that as we embrace technology’s gifts, we forget what we are being asked for in return – for example, that the gaps in our schedules have disappeared. There is definitely a price to pay as we adopt technology, and one of the biggest costs is our time.
Another cost is what we will leave behind. The next generation will never remember life before the Internet. Some things will be missing from their lives but they will never notice because for them they never were. We are the only generation, if you’re over 30, that can still notice the difference between before and after the Internet.
Our grandchildren may never know how to read a map without GPS, but will they care?
When we reach for our cell phone during dinner, we can catch ourselves and say, “wait a minute — what am I doing? I don’t have to be connected to everyone 24 hours a day.”
Or when we find ourselves checking e-mail before breakfast or taking calls on the way home in our car or checking Twitter and Facebook while having a coffee break at Starbucks, we can stop ourselves and say, “wait a minute — I need a break from all this I want time to unwind, relax and refresh, give my mind a rest, put myself in a creative mood, think about my new grandchild”, and so on.
But the next generation, will not be able to say that because they will be born into this new world and won’t be able to visualize it being any other way.
One thing I am trying to do through holistic time management is determine what it is we are leaving behind in this new age of technology, and if anything is worth preserving.
Should we be buying our toddlers iPads, complete with electronic games – or blocks and popsicle sticks and refrigerator cartons to play with? (By the way, yesterday I saw two toddlers using an iPad at the coffee shop yesterday and it reminded me that CTA Digital had released its iPotty a year or so ago, a toilet for toddlers with a stand for their tablets.)
Should we buy them electronic art pads – or crayons and paper? What impact will it have on the way their brains develop? Should I teach my great grandchildren how to write and spell and add and subtract — or simply buy them a computer and tell them which icons to click?
And what about my adult family? Should I encourage one-on-one relationships or 1000 friends on Facebook? Walks through the woods, or 20 minutes on a treadmill? Home-cooked meals or fast food and take-outs? Reading books or watching Netflix? An active or sedentary lifestyle?
And what about me? I’m in my eighties and have lived in both worlds. Should I reject technology and hand-write my books or use voice activated software? Look words up in the dictionary or use Spell-check? Pay for long distance calls or use Skype? Send greeting cards by snail mail or e-cards via the Internet?
Is there anything good about the past that merits preserving? Anything bad about technology that requires controlling?
And how does it all impact my chosen profession of time management? How does it impact your chosen profession and your lifestyle? In this digital age of speed and technology is time management even necessary? Or has it too become obsolete — soon to be a thing of the past?
Well, the conclusion I came to was that time management as we have been teaching it is still relevant, but it is no longer sufficient. It has to change.
We have been making statements such as “she is managing her time well” or “she is organized” — as though they were the goals. Time management and organization are not destinations that you’re aiming to arrive at. They are merely tools to help you achieve that kind of life you want to live. For most people this might be a lifestyle that includes being healthy, happy, relatively stress free, with time to do the things that bring you and your loved ones personal satisfaction.
Time management is a journey, not an event, and time itself is not life; it simply measures its passing.
It’s time for a new or expanded time management. I chose to label this new or changed time management as “holistic time management” simply because it involves strategies affecting the whole person, not just his or her efficiency and effectiveness as it relates to getting things done.
I define holistic time management as “the strategies necessary to lead a happier, healthier, longer, more productive and fulfilling life.” I presume that this is the generic life goal of most people.
And in light of the new technological age that we now find ourselves in, I feel that in order to achieve this goal we need the strategies that take into consideration both external and internal time management as well as health, stress, lifestyle and environmental issues that affect body mind and spirit.
Factors to consider in applying holistic time management include exercise, getting adequate sleep, keeping your brain healthy and active, avoiding excessive stress, developing your executive, brain-based skills, watching what you eat and so on. You need to control technology, your workload, your emotions and even your attitude. And your spiritual and mental conditions have a big impact on your health, longevity, and state of mind.
For top performance and physical well-being, you have to consider all facets of a person’s life. That’s why you will see a wide range of articles in this blog page. But they all have a direct or indirect impact on how we manage our time and our life.
The greatest time management strategy is to live longer, healthier, happier and more productive. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with a few extra years.