The promise of technology is always that it will transform our lives, and it has certainly done that. It also brings with it a promise of labor saving, and to some extent, that is true as well. If you consider, for example, what a typical week’s housework consisted of 100 or 150 years ago and think about how much easier things like vacuum cleaners and washing machines have made those tasks, it’s clear that in many ways, tech has freed us. However, if you aren’t careful, that can look like freedom to work even more at other things. It’s important to understand how to use technology in a way that enhances your life.
One of the places where technology has had a huge positive impact is in education. From language-learning apps to videos that teach you how to poach an egg or fix a sink to prestigious universities that post course material online, learning has never been more accessible. You can pursue all or part of a degree online as well. In addition, it is much easier to research colleges and universities and choose the one that is right for you. It’s also easier to find out what kind of financial aid you might be eligible for and to search for scholarships. You can use a tool that helps you identify scholarships that might be suitable in your situation, which makes the process much easier.
Curate Your Online Life
Social media has been accused of causing a number of ills, from exacerbating conditions like anxiety and depression to ruining people’s attention spans to simply being a time waster. Whether or not any of this is true, balance in your life is important, and most people could stand to spend less time online. This doesn’t call for drastic action like getting rid of your home internet connection or abandoning your smartphone.
What you need to do is figure out what you genuinely value about your use of the internet and what isn’t doing you any good. There might be one social media platform that you find useful for staying connected with faraway friends and family and another that you seem to largely use to get into arguments with strangers. Rather than abandon social media altogether, the solution would be to ditch the platform that is leading you into arguments and keep the one that actually connects you with family.
If you’re trying to break your habit of visiting certain websites while still maintaining your online access, there are tools that can block sites for you during certain times of day or limit your time on sites. It can also be useful to set up your smartphone to track how much time you spend on it. As you’re improving your digital habits, it’s key to replace them with something else positive. Instead of scrolling on a site you don’t even particularly enjoy, maybe you’ll use that time instead to do some pushups, phone a friend or read a book.
Use the Right Tools
Another key to making tech work for you is correctly identifying both the problem that you are having and the solution. Maybe you are interested in a smart home. There are so many different devices that you can get that it’s important to think carefully about which ones you actually need. If you’re constantly wondering what you have at home to eat and picking up duplicates of one item and not enough of another, then a smart refrigerator that lets you know what is inside it might actually be very useful for you. On the other hand, you might realize that you don’t really need to be able to voice-activate your lights or thermostat. You can extend this model to any kind of decision-making you need to do around acquiring new tech. Clearly define the problem and then identify the tech tool that will solve it for you.
Consider Late Adoption
If you love tech and it makes you happy to be one of the first to try out a new gadget, then by all means you should continue to do so. However, if you often find yourself ambivalent or anxious about new devices and whether you need them, there’s nothing wrong with becoming a late adopter. This has a few potential advantages.
First, you won’t waste money on something that promises more than it delivers and ends up being quickly retired by the company that introduces it. Second, if the device is something that sticks around, the price is likely to drop after a couple of years. Third, waiting gives you time to really figure out whether it is something that you need. It can be easy to get caught up in whatever your friends and family members are eagerly using, but in most cases, unless it’s a requirement for your job, there is no harm in taking your time to embrace the new.