Technology and Saving Time – Technology wastes more time than it saves

February 2020

Technology once promised to make our lives easier, simpler and save us time.

Computers work faster than any individual.  Efficiency and time saving devices are everywhere.  Less understood was what people would do with that time they saved.  We now know that time saved by technology tends not to be put to productive use.

Google saves us time when searching for information.  Facebook saves time when interacting with friends.  LinkedIn allows us to easily look up business associates.  All are sources of news, information and discussion.  Amazon allows us to order from home without going to the store and waiting in lines.  Credit and debit card payments are faster.  E-mail is faster than writing and mailing a letter.  The list goes on.

Our free time is greater than ever before because of technology.  So what do we do with this free time?  We spend more time doing things we never did before.  We get lost in fruitless activities.  We spend more time on unproductive research as we come across unrelated things that distract us.  We watch YouTube videos during the day instead of being productive.  We send jokes to friends via e-mail and participate in online discourse.  In place of a brief conversation two parties may share a dozen e-mail or text messages trying to clarify what the other wrote.

All of this takes more time than whatever savings we may derive from technology.

Smartphones were once provided to employees as a reward with the expectation they would be more accessible outside regular working hours.  Smartphones are now widely accepted but more frequently used for entertainment than productivity.

Some are now trying to separate people from their technology, at least for a brief period.  Wyndham Grand hotels offer guests five percent off rooms if their phones are stored in a timed lockbox during a stay.  They see this as part of their purpose to remove distractions from recreation and family time.

It is undeniable that technology can improve communications and save money which is why condo corporations adopt it.  It is also true that personal phones and smartphones, when accessible by building employees during work hours, are a distraction that reduces their productivity and quality of work.

It has become clear that technology ties up more of our time than it saves.  Technology companies have come to realize that more time using their systems translate to more time buying what is promoted through them.  It has failed to make our lives easier and simpler.  Many businesses require personal phones to be turned off or inaccessible during work hours.