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Is Technology Really Making Our Work Life Better?

Dr. Greg Ketchum, 04/08/06

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In doing research for this morning’s segment I ran across an article on Reuters that stopped me cold in that it challenged a basic belief about the benefits of technology.  Namely, that technology has made our work lives easier. However, this article reported on research that showed just the opposite to be true. Talk about a mind blower.

Now on the face of it this makes no sense. I certainly feel that technology enables me to get more done and saves me time. For example, formerly I might have had to go to the library to do research whereas now I can do my research on-line

So what’s really going on here? c Technology…

1.  Is speeding everything up.

2.  Bombards us with email, voice mail, cell phones, text messages & faxes

3.  Increases expectations of what we should be able to accomplish

You know what I’m talking about and you know how it makes you feel. The Day-Timer research captured it this way.

  1. “60% of workers say they always or frequently feel rushed…”
  2. Those who feel extremely or very productive dropped from 84% in 1994 to 51% today.

So that’s it. That’s the dark underside of the great benefits of technology. We feel more pressured, hurried and are expected to do evermore faster. This negative impact of technology is something that we hadn’t counted on. In the end we’re stressed out because we feel pressured to multitask and we try to do too much.

What can you do about it? Here are some suggestions…

  1. Try Uni-Tasking: That’s right. Try the old way of doing one thing at a time and doing it well.
  2. Set Realistic Expectations: Don’t stress yourself out by setting unrealistic expectations.
  3. Build in Down-time: Make sure to give yourself some “down-time” everyday. Set a time by which you will shut the laptop off. Read.

Finally, if all else fails spend time with your family or loved ones. Have conversations, tell stories, share feelings. After all, that’s what we did before all this technology arrived to make our lives easier.


®2006 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

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