By Ann Sullivan
One of the main purposes of modern technology is to facilitate performing tasks. Ease and efficiency are among the expectations we have in the use of our modern devices. Communication, nowadays, is as simple as texting or emailing a quick message. The information super highway puts the whole world at our fingertips. Gone are the days of encyclopedia salesman, and having to store massive books on shelves. The goal of all these modern conveniences and devices is to streamline our efforts. Unfortunately, it does not always achieve that goal. The opposite can end up happening, and vast amounts of precious time get wasted as a result. Here are nine of the ways modern technology wastes your time.
1) Social Media
This is one of the biggest culprits of wasting time. Many people just can’t seem to pull themselves away from constantly checking their Facebook or Twitter account. Others spend time posting and commenting on things that, frankly, don’t really matter. While the goal of social media is just that, to be social, it can get out of hand easily. If you were to document the amount of time you spend, at the end of the day you’d see how fast it adds up. For many people, this amounts to a considerable amount of time wasted. It’s easy to get caught up in the trap. This is especially true of sites like Facebook. It’s simple enough to start scrolling through one’s news-feed and end up clicking on ads for products, lengthy posts, or videos. It’s also easy to get caught up in a comment thread that’s difficult to back out of.
2) Debit/Credit Card Purchases
With the inconsistency across the board of types of card transaction machines, spending time to make a purchase can waste your time. This is especially true if the machine malfunctions and you have to swipe your card several times, or hand it to the cashier to complete the transaction. Or, even worse, the machine cannot read your card and the cashier has to manually enter the card information. This can lead to frustration for you and the people on line behind you. In contrast, if you had just handed over cash to pay for your transaction, chances are you’d be on your way a lot faster. With the addition of chips in debit and credit cards, the machines seem to be processing transactions slower rather than faster. In conclusion, cash can be faster than the technology of the debit/credit card machine.
3) Duplicating Communications
Do you find yourself calling someone, leaving a voicemail message, and then immediately texting or emailing them also? We live in an instant gratification world. Lacking the patience to wait for a reply is wasting time. Add to that, constantly checking your phone or email to see if the other person replied takes up more time than people realize. As per a study in Business Insider, employees waste an average of 74- minutes per day trying to contact customers or colleagues. Thirty-nine minutes per day, on average, is spent duplicating communications. The key to not allowing the conveniences of email, texting, and voicemail to waste rather than save time is to just have some patience. If you’ve left a message for someone, give them the chance to respond and go do something else. This will add to less time wasted and therefore, more productivity in your day overall.
4) Over-surfing the Web
Business Insider’s report concluded 67-minutes per day are wasted on trying to find key information. While it’s true that Googling is simple enough and results usually appear quickly, they can also side track us. You may start out looking for one thing, and end up finding other interesting things that have nothing to do with what you were looking for. Do you find yourself opening multiple tabs on your browser, or bookmarking numerous unrelated pages to read later? If so, you’re probably among those wasting an hour or more a day on unrelated surfing. It’s true, there are countless fascinating subjects to explore right at our very fingertips. The key to not allowing this to waste time is to stay focused on the task at hand. You may also run the risk of going so far from the initial search subject, you forget to complete the original task!
5) Checking Email and Spam Messages
Do you find yourself setting out to check your email in the morning, for example, and ending up having to filter through unimportant or spam messages? This is an easy way to let time get away from your day. If you have specific communications to attend to, you should focus on those and ignore the rest for the time being. Email is a great tool when used appropriately. Unfortunately, it can also be a time-wasting nuisance. Spam is another of these annoyances. This is especially true if you don’t have an email client that sorts your main mail from spam and other unwanted solicitations. Most email programs have the options to mark a message as spam. This will often delete the message and send a report to the email hosting company. It does, however, waste time to see what the message is and determine your course of action.
6) Computer Updates/Repairs
It’s true, computers are a great tool in our everyday lives. Whether it be a desktop, tablet or laptop, most people use one or more of these devices daily. When they are functioning properly and efficiently it can afford us the opportunity to be truly productive. On the other hand, when you are waiting for updates to complete, that often require a chuck of time, it can be frustrating and waste precious work time. Other problems, such as malfunctions or worse, viruses, can really lead to a good portion of the day wasted. One way to avoid this happening, is to set your computer to update at a time when you are not using it. It’s also advisable to utilize anti-virus and malware protection. Once your computer gets a virus, and there are some very damaging ones out there, it could lead to total loss of use of your device.
Are you one of those people who initiates or is the recipient of an entire conversation in text messages? If someone has that much to say, it’s faster to do just that – say it in a phone call. Oftentimes thoughts cannot be expressed as quickly in a text message as they could by just calling someone and speaking with them. If your conversation goes past 2 or 3 messages, you are wasting time typing thoughts that could be spoken much more quickly. That’s not to say that texting isn’t a modern convenience to be taken advantage of appropriately. It’s also useful if you’re in a situation where you need to communicate with someone and cannot speak on the phone. It’s a matter of a sense of proportion though. Use your time wisely and it won’t get the best of your day.
8) Checking Phone Constantly
Some people are just phone addicts. With the convenience of cell phones, comes the risk of habitually checking for texts, emails, and other communications these devices offer. One way to avoid this happening to you is to simply shut off the ringer and concentrate on whatever it is you need to accomplish. If you just put your phone away, it won’t become a distraction you are continually causing yourself. Like anything else in modern devices, it’s meant to be used as a tool to communicate quickly. It can, however, become a time vampire if you simply can’t resist continually checking to see if some communication has arrived. If you use your cell for work, this may not be the case. You may need to check it periodically throughout the day. Again, it’s a sense of proportion. Manage the device. Don’t let the device manage you!
9) Online Games
Here’s an area where, while it’s fun to escape into a game app, it can also drain the life out of your day. This can waste time which would be better served doing something productive. It’s one thing to take a break for a few minutes and use a game app to escape for a bit. It’s another thing if you set out to do that, and the next thing you know hours have gone by. Or, worse yet, you’ve gotten completely drawn in and have lost all track of time. Many game apps are designed to keep the player engaged in the game. This is fine for recreational purposes. The problem is, people become obsessed with the challenge the game affords. This can take more time than you should allow. If you’re someone who enjoys game apps, set a timer to limit how much it takes from your day.