Facebook. LinkedIn. Blackberrys and iPhones. Laptops. Tivo. Online everything.
E-mail never fulfilled its promise of the "paperless office," so it is unlikely that the unstoppable march of technology will make things easier for us. But what is the psychological effect of all these new conveniences? Anxiety, frustration and confusion is one answer. The feeling of constantly playing catch up is one that dogs all of us. But that feeling is not new. People with jobs and kids have felt this way since time immemorial: not enough time to do what I need to do.
Today there are an overwhelming set of choices available to us. We not only have to keep up with the changes in our industries, but now we might have to keep up with the constant technology changes that seem to trumpet themselves from the newspaper everyday. (Did I say "newspaper?" I meant internet- no one reads newspapers, or magazines or watches TV anymore, right?) And if your industry IS technology, you have the recipe for a nervous breakdown.
Research suggests that should you choose to live in the "always on" world, you may feel that your sense of orderliness and safety has been compromised. And that feeling might be more than temporary. Anxiety, stress, depression, aggravation, distrust and procrastination have all increased at a societal level. Some blame, but not all, can be laid at the feet of technology. Think of the technological changes from 1990-2000 as compared to from 2001 to today.
So is all of this making you feel better or worse? This is not an advice blog, but for what it’s worth, the most successful people who can balance their lives are those who know how to set limits and boundaries. Just because you CAN be reachable at any moment, doesn’t mean you NEED to be.
The feelings that some of us have about all this stuff are real, so it’s always nice to know you’re not alone. (That is the power of any group from AA to the Small Business Administration- strength and support in like-minded numbers.) But the remedies are much more individualized and might require (gasp!) personal responsibilty.
I don’t want to bum everyone out, so watch this video and have a good laugh. It truly IS amazing how far we’ve come.