Four Tips for Balancing Your Technology Time
The other day, I found myself setting a timer while on my computer. I had checked e-mail, read some of the wall feeds on Facebook, updated a status on my business page, checked my business e-mail, played on Pinterest, and then checked Twitter and Linked In. Like many other people, I enjoy the purposes of social media, and I appreciate the productive or entertainment factor of these sites. But time can really get away from us if we are not careful.
For weeks now, I’ve been thinking about how to use social media in a way that benefits me professionally as well as socially – without taking away from the quality of my life. I got a bit panicky in realizing how much time I can spend on the computer. The premise behind social media, in one regard, is to get more accomplished, more efficiently. But all of that takes time. And, we still have the same twenty-four hours in each day. Most of us can’t take too much off of our already jam-packed daily “to do” lists, yet we add still more to our day with our technology trends. I can sometimes get caught up in it, but I’ve been reflecting lately on the importance of what it means to stay true to balance. What does balance look like in this situation? It depends on the purpose, first of all. If someone uses technology as part of their full time job, then they will undoubtedly use social media or possibly various apps frequently. If someone uses it purely for social purposes, then they can (and I believe should) monitor their usage carefully.
What struck me the other day is that I was on the computer for such a time that I didn’t get to my reading that day. Seems perhaps a small thing, but in midst of such busy days at work, reading is a huge priority for me when I get home, both professionally and for pleasure. I often feel an acute sense of “let down” when I am not able to read during a given day. So, that was my signal that I needed to evaluate my time now, more than ever.
Here are some tips in thinking time management with technology:
*Purpose? What purpose do you have for using the computer at any given time? Is it to simply check e-mail? Check Facebook feeds? Play around on Pinterest? It’s a good idea to be purposeful before getting on the computer, so that you set your boundaries ahead of time.
*Duration? What kind of time do you have to work with? Are you checking e-mail during a work break? Between errands? While cooking dinner? Deciding ahead of time what duration have to work with ahead of time gives you solid parameters that will help you stay on track.
*Priority? Consider carefully your priorities for the day. If you have an incredibly tight schedule, using the computer and checking multiple sites/programs/apps that day may just not be feasible. On busy days like this, consider using only those sites that will help you with your daily priorities, as in checking Facebook in order to send a message, or looking at Pinterest to find a very specific idea for a project you are working on, etc. Being this methodical will give you a much better chance of prioritizing your life.
*Example? Setting a good example for others in the household is yet another reason to monitor carefully what priority we give to our computer use. If children see us constantly on the computer, and not engaging in family conversations, or reading, for example, then they will likely follow suit, especially since they are already very capable with technology, and are naturally drawn to the electronic avenues of gaming, apps, etc.
There is so much to explore in our world through our computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. All of it can be extremely beneficial in a work environment, school, as well as at home. Tools that we find on the Internet or with apps can definitely enhance our lives, help us to grow and become more creative, and they give us the ability to learn in a multitude of ways. But there are always going to be only twenty-four hours in each day, so we must learn how to prioritize our time in order to keep our priorities true. We must be purposeful and smart about what we do, when we do it, and for how long. It is truly a balancing act.