Is technology freeing us or wasting out time – part 2

ValOK last week I seem to have had a bit of a post-holiday rant about technology and how much time it’s wasting me rather than, as advertised, saving me.  And no I can’t see how I would live my life without the good old pc, web, internet etc. etc.  Even as I write I’m checking on alternatives for getting to Gatwick for eight guys going skiing, then what the snow is like in La Plagne and of course how many Euros I’m getting for my £.  The first one is a ‘need to do’ and is quicker than getting out the phone book and making calls.  Then of course I’d have to have phoned round everyone and get agreement etc.  So hey, what am I moaning about.

That’s a big time saving.  However, the last two are the equalisers.  It doesn’t take long though, so that’s not so bad is it?  I mean I can look at the snow forecast for the next week, then I look at the La Plagne site to see the snow is building nicely, in what a couple of minutes?  But being the trip organiser I send an update to those going.  Some who reply with such stimulating copy such as ‘Great!’.  Also of course if I’m on the web site I might as well look at some of the video cams and see for myself.  Oh, and there’s the piste map and recommendations for bars that we might visit (a few of us like to seek out live music if we can).  I kid myself it’s for the planning, but I know it will all go out of the window when we get there and we’ll head up the first lift that takes our collective fancy or go in the first bar we come to.

Also once I’ve found the exchange rate I go onto the BBC site to see if I can judge what’s happening to the Euro i.e. do I buy now or later? (as if it’s going to make that much of a difference).  Why do I do all these things after the ‘need to do’?  Because I can, because it’s all there at the press of a button.  One thing leads to another, which leads to another, which….

So, I’m back to the time wasting that I went on about last week.  Except of course I’m now writing about it in my blog, which is a bit of a conundrum – I’m not sure how to classify that: ‘Productive time wasting?’ perhaps, if that’s not an oxymoron?

cold meHah, so I think I’m now getting to the core of it.  Yes, the technology is kind of responsible for me wasting my time.  I mean without it all that time wasting wouldn’t be possible.  But then I also have to take responsibility for it, which is a bit of a bummer.  And the thing is, it’s fun time wasting and there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun, except that I’m supposed to be writing (yes, I know I’m doing that now, but you know what I mean).

One thing that resonated last week with some of you was the idea of keeping a time wasting diary.  Problem is I don’t think I’m brave enough.  However, another idea (I hate to call it a resolution) is to keep this ‘time wasting’, ‘web wandering’ to my breaks (coffee / lunch etc.)  I drink a fair amount of coffee so that wouldn’t be so bad.  The only problem is, in this world of potential instant gratification, having the discipline to ignore the spontaneous, distracting thought that pops into my head when I’m writing.  The issue is then what if it’s a good idea (such as this blog) and I forget?

I’m not sure I’m much further forward.  And I haven’t mentioned the annoying technology that thinks it knows me better than I know myself, or that sends me unwanted e-mail etc.  Maybe writing about it helps.  Maybe it’ll help you make sense of it all – good luck!  Let me know.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

4 thoughts on “Is technology freeing us or wasting out time – part 2”

    1. Now I’m truly depressed. Did you see the conclusion? – “But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex.”

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