Today Will Be Remembered as the Era When Technology Ruled Our Lives

Photo: Chris Metcalf

Technology was originally created with the intention of saving us time. The cotton gin was created to save time processing cotton, the steam engine to save time over using horses for power, and computers to save time on calculations. But where is all this free time? It seems that people are busier and more stressed than ever before.

Despite the incredible pace of technological innovations in the last several decades, it has been ineffective in actually saving us time. An incredible number of tools are available today that have never been available before, but we don’t know how to effectively use them to reduce stress and provide more leisure time. It is not a limitation of the technology, rather our training on these technologies lags far behind – we just don’t take the time to learn how to use them effectively!

The technologies that dominate our everyday lives
In the grand scheme of things cell phones and email are new technologies. The majority of people got their first cell phone less than 10 years ago and email maybe a couple years before that. Now we are combining the technologies – chances are if you bought a new cell phone in the last year or two it now has email on it. The downside to these rapid technological advances is that we haven’t had time to properly learn the best way to use them.

Have you ever been talking to someone in person when their cell phone rings? How is this person supposed to respond? It is wonderful that you can be reached at any time of day by your friend 10,000 miles away, but at what cost? The call disrupts your face-to-face conversation for a digital one. Text messages are less obtrusive but the same principle applies – they dictate our lives and take us out of the moment.

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Personal Informatics – What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Photo: Tyrone Shum

The often quoted Peter Drucker said “what gets measured gets managed.” If you can’t measure it you are merely guessing, not managing. Of course he was referring to applying metrics to better manage a business, but the same principle applies to individuals as well. How are you to optimize your life when you do not measure how exactly you spend it?

Personal Finance
Personal finance is the best example of this — in order to get your spending under control and save money you first need to know where your money is being spent. Track where your money is going, create a budget to control problem areas, and continue tracking to observe the improvements. is a terrific website to help individuals focus on tracking their expenses. From their website:

If you’ve tried to build a budget in the past and just couldn’t stick to it, we understand. Until now, trying to see where you’re spending and where you can cut back has been too difficult. But once you understand a few basic principles and start tracking your spending with, you’ll be able to set and stick to realistic goals, easily and automatically. has developed impressive technology to easily track and report on your spending – in turn allowing more people to stick to their financial goals. This website is only one example in an abundance of new tools utilizing technology to help you track your life. Beyond personal finance, there are similar services you can use to for almost any facet of your life.

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