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The internet is a big time suck

Check your email, peruse social media, and play a (not-so) quick game of Candy Crush

Pictured: the internet. Or a black hole. Whichever.
  • Pictured: the internet. Or a black hole. Whichever.

Post Title: Does Technology Actually Save Us Time?

Post Date: June 2, 2014

You know how it goes… At first, you want to catch up on current affairs. After reading a few articles, you click on an embedded link, and then another. Eventually, you find yourself reviewing potential Thanksgiving recipes. You watch a few videos, take a few quizzes, and down the rabbit hole you go.

Technology is awesome. An endless supply of information lies at our fingertips. It has given us unimaginable scientific advancements. It ventures to bring us to the edges of the universe and helps us to explore the depths of the sea. Technology keeps us connected with loved ones, it allows us to reminisce in ways that were never possible, and it also provides endless entertainment. Due to technology, we can check off seven items on our to-do list in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.

Technology can afford us more time to enjoy leisure activities and pursue our passions. Many of us, however, assert that technology saves us time, when in reality we have become lost in its boundless web. Consider these statements we often make about the following technological advancements and the reality of what usually happens.

1) Computers

“Everything I do I can do faster because of computers.”

REALITY: It takes you 2 hours to start getting into your work because you have to check your email, peruse 4 social media sites, and play a (not-so) quick game of Candy Crush/Solitaire/etc.

2) Email

“I can communicate so quickly that I can have more time to pursue hobbies, work remotely, relax, and/or develop a business idea.”

REALITY: People just expect you to work more and respond quicker so that your “me time” essentially disappears.

3) Smart phones

“I can do anything, anywhere, anytime.”

REALITY: There’s a really good chance you waste a lot time reading things like 16 model trains that will change your life or 68 ways you know you are a human being. Not to mention, when you answer a business call at the beach, technology removes you from your moment of rest. The second you take out your phone, your phone takes you out of your life.

Technology can save time and expand our world. But for technology to really improve our lives, we must choose it for the purpose of saving time, so that we can mindfully engage with our world.

Post Title: Vanishing Pause Time

Post Date: June 28, 2012

When attending a training session on Mantram Repitition conducted by Jill Borman, I heard her mention the phrase “vanishing pause time.” Essentially, “vanishing pause time” refers to the notion that with the immense time-saving benefits of technology also comes the loss of time to reflect, relax, breathe, collect oneself...pause. Often, the extra free time that technology affords us simply allows us to cram more activities into our day.

Technology also gives us more time to use technology; instead of “pausing” or fully engaging in the moment at hand, we usually turn to our phones, tablets, computers, etc. How often do you find yourself “killing time” while perusing websites or playing games on your phone? Time is so precious; in fact, it is all we have to work with on this Earth. Why do we invest any time at all trying to kill it?

If you are not sold on the notion that it is beneficial to make a point of engaging in “pause time” so that yours does not completely vanish, consider the idea that downtime actually serves a purpose. You can be productive by not being productive. One way that this happens occurs through memory consolidation, which is a critical process through which memories are sorted by the hippocampus to become permanent. It is how we learn. Memory consolidation occurs when our mind is not engaged in other activities — during rest, downtime, etc. 

“Pause time” is important and it is disappearing from our lives. To keep it from completely vanishing, I suggest people engage in the following three activities from time to time: (1) unplug, (2) quit multitasking and engage mindfully in one activity, and (3) pause and do nothing but “be.”

[Posts edited for length]

Blog: Ross Psychology | Author: Bridgett Ross, PsyD | From: Kearny Mesa | Blogging since: June 2010

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