Has Technology Really Made Our Work Faster or Us more productive?

I am back! As most of you know, I have been on vacation for the past few weeks.  We went on a cruise to Alaska and while “Cruising” and the state of Alaska have many positive things going for them, having outside communication abilities really isn’t one of them.  Cell phone calls from the ship were charged at a rate of $8.00 per minute.  Internet, if it had been working was billed at rate of $.75 a minute, so early on in the cruise we knew this would be a week of electronic solitude.  At first it was weird, but then I started enjoying it.  No one could reach me, and while I enjoy all of you emailing, it was a nice break.  No one could phone or text me (and guess what no one died from not being able to tell or text me that someone just cut them off in traffic or that Starbucks just got their order wrong!)  One bad thing did happen, but I am so glad we didn’t know about it.  My father-law-called in the middle of our cruise and left a message he was going in for surgery.  I am not heartless here, what on earth could my wife have done while we were floating around in the middle of the glacier fields except sit and worry.

While all the technology in our lives is sold to us as making our life easier, in most cases it just takes more of our time and lives away from us and it not technologies fault, it ours.  Cell phones were sold with the idea to have a phone in case of an emergency, but once we got one what did we all do?  We all started talking on the phone while driving, shopping and doing everything else in our lives that only took one hand and little concentration to accomplish.  The next step was texting, because there are after-all some things that when you say out loud you realize how stupid and unimportant they are!  We have mothers in the camera rooms with their daughters doing a senior session that is a very fun, very cool, once in a lifetime experience and rather than enjoying  the moment or even taking a photo with their damn phone (use it for good rather than evil) they are feverishly texting all their friends.  I will actually tell the moms to put their phone away and they look at me like they broke a studio rule.  I then tell them, “she is only going to do this once in her life you know!”  Every time I have said this to someone, the mother has an “ah-hah” moment and they say, “Your right” and all but one thanked me.

Each day on the ship, I would go out and smoke a cigar on the deck and finish proof reading my next book (something good to read with my cigar).  There was a couple that I became acquainted with who did their daily walk around the ship at the same time I was smoking my cigar.  Each day they walked hand in hand around the ship.  They would stop by to talk to me, mainly about their frustration about no cell phone and no internet.  On the last day of the cruise they commented that they wouldn’t know what they would do if they had no internet or cell phones.  I looked at them and said, “probably take a lot more walks holding hands!”  They smiled at each other and agreed.

The internet, email, social media, cell phones and text messaging all have their place, but many times instead of making our lives easier and faster they just consume the most important parts of our lives and that is the time we have with ourselves and the ones we love.  All of us don’t use technology as a tool, to do the job it was designed to do, we look at it as toy and wonder what else it can be used for.  The “what else” is what craps-up our lives.

I have decided to take my own advice, from now on my cell phone is off everyday when I am in sessions and I never take a call when at dinner with my family, during family activities and screen my calls the rest of the time.  I am checking my emails one time a day 5 days a week, the other two days no email unless it is to family.  No text messages ever, if it is important enough to call me, I will take it, if not,  I can live without knowing that much about anything!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on July 11, 2010.

2 Responses to “Has Technology Really Made Our Work Faster or Us more productive?”

  1. I agree..when you are driving, notice how mamny people are taking, texting or have bluetooth in their ear..why can’t we live with out being in touch electronically every minute of the day. No one talks face to face anymore or calls..it is text or email. When did we have to start bidding for jobs??? digital is great, but it takes over??? Walk through the wood without your earpiece and listen to the birds sing….

  2. My wife and I had our home internet service disconnected the same day the telephone company installed our land line. The service tech asked if we were doing this to same money, and that they could bundle our cell phones with our other services to get a better rate. I said no, it’s not money, it’s taking back charge of our lives. It’s unplugging from the matrix. We’re simplifying. He replied, “Nobody does this! Now I’ve heard everything.” Our cell phones were disconnected the next day; we even paid the contract early cancellation fees. Now the old-fashioned answering machine takes our calls when we’re not home and we have only one phone number to remember. We read, talk and take walks in the pleasant absence of electromagnetic background humming from routers, servers, airports, wireless mouses and yes, even my iphone has reverted to being a lowly ipod touch. It’s happier, too.

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