Losing time to technology
Time Deficiency Syndrome
August 11, 2004
Have you ever noticed how many people keep complaining
of lack of time? It goes like this: Essi Joon, I swear to Barbara's
life, I didn't get a chance to call or answer your emails!
... I have been bombarded with work and don't know how to manage
the stress and pressure! ... ShooShoo Joon, I am stressed
out! No time to do anything I had planned...
Those people who make these types of complaints
are suffering from what I call, Time Deficiency Syndrome (TDS).
We live in times when people are constantly complaining of lack
of time. I keep wondering...
humanity has invented all kinds of technological gadgets to make
life easier and provide more time to enjoy ourselves, and yet
we still complain of lack of time!
Anxiety has been reported to be a direct psychological
consequence of a state known as lack of time. I just recently
read that anxiety levels today are higher than those of psychiatric
patients in the 1950s!
It might be improper to say anything against what technology
has created for us by an engineer whose life is depends on PDAs,
computers, and the Internet! Though, I believe a big chunk of these
complaints is directly related to the use of modern technology.
As proof, consider the many new words that people and professionals
are using to describe their modern state of mind. One common term
is "techno-stress", feeling of frustration and stress caused by
having to deal with changes brought on by computers and other technologies.
For example, people used to leave the office and that was the
end of their long day. However, today with the use of cell phones,
pagers, and email, workers are
under constant stress because technically they are always connected
and have no down time.
I bet there has been at least once in your techno-oriented
life that computer problems have interrupted your work or you
work deadlines because of hardware or software problems (I know...
you just said, "Tell me about it!").
A major disaster happened to me when my computer
got infected by a virus just a week before I submited my Masters
thesis! I am sure many of you have begged a computer or some
gadget to pleeeeeeeease give
back files containing a drawing
or a report typed 5 minutes earlier. Or you have probabaly pleaded
to a microwave to actually warm up your food rather
burning or turning it into a cancerous hazard!
Devices have long been a source of frustration and
anger, resulting in more time being spent to finish
a job. Based on my experience, devices have natural
antipathy toward human beings. Almost
we hear the term
from someone around us that "things are against me" or "I
am sure nothing is working my way"! Just imagine how much
time we spend learning how new technologies with their related
phrases can help improve our hectic life!
Books, magazines, newspapers, by-laws and manuals
not only bombard us with tons of information where
we have to comprehend
them, but also through the Internet and instant access to information
resources under our finger tips, we have increased
this world of human-machine
interaction. Just kindly add the number of emails, newsgroups
and weblogs you read everyday, then you would be able to understand
why we receive such an excessive amount of anxiety.
We usually receive such a large pile of information
that we have a hard time planing how to classify
or process them, not to mention comprehend and manage
for later usage. Planning for such a
large data input is a monumental task. We may lose track of proper
planning and management of our resources and abilities. As a result
we do not use our time in the most efficient way.
Another big factor is something that is
known as the desire to handle many jobs simultaneously.
To handle many jobs in one
working day requires a daunting amount of planning and efficient
usage of our time. However, with the overload of information
-- plus Tehran's
traffic where it takes 2 hours instead of 10 minutes to go from
point A to B -- we may even forget what we had really
think we have a great Persian expression for this:
picking up watermelons with
hand (bardaashtan-e chand taa hendoneh baa yek
I always wonder whether there is a way to
ease technological anxiety and TDS? I honestly do not
since the changes around
us is not something in our control. I think with so much desire
for a better life, we would have a hard time seeing things getting
any better. However, I would suggest it makes it meaningful
for us from time to time if we turn everything off for a while
and stand back to evaluate our status. Or just tell yourself, I
always make time for things that are affecting my soul... leave
all the watermelons on the ground!