How long has it been since you got through a dinner or hanging out with friends without having to look something up on the Internet, text or tweet, or take a cell phone call?
Technology inundates and enriches our world. Maybe it is our world – it certainly makes things work.
But like every blessing, technology isn’t always all insight and speed. Here are four ways technology can get in your way, especially at work:
Technology can isolate you – Networking is an important part of business success, but you can’t do it by social networking alone. Face-to-face human relationships are important. It’s how you learn from mentors, support and get support from colleagues and show your supervisors that you’re a great employee. I know it’s tempting to just send an e-mail, but you’ll be better off in the long run if you pop down to someone’s office. People who work remotely need to take special care to remind employers of their presence – and value.
Technology can overwhelm you – When you’re compiling a report, how many sources should you check, considering a simple Google search yields hundreds of hits? How many bells and whistles should you tack onto a presentation, since you could easily add video, audio, interactive displays and original music to your PowerPoint? It’s so easy to get so distracted by all the things you could do that you lose track of what you’re supposed to do. To keep from drowning in possibility, focus on the specific goal a report or presentation is supposed to accomplish.
Technology raises unrealistic expectations – You can send revisions and updates in the blink of an eye, and spend so much time sharing information about one thing that everything else gets left behind, or requires another 10 hours of work a week. You can get input from every person in your office on every single proposal or project you work on. I say limit those commenting on documents to a “Need to Review” basis, otherwise you’ll drag everything out and make needless work for yourself.
Technology never stops, but humans need to – You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again – just because you can constantly be in touch with work doesn’t mean you should. Just because the Internet is available 24/7 doesn’t mean that you need to be on it that much. Just because you can carry your work with you everywhere doesn’t mean you need to do that. And do you really need to check your e-mail on your day off? I don’t think so, but I am sure of one thing – you need a day off. We all do.
Let’s relax and unplug.
by Danielle Dresden