There is a tendency in our culture to equate technology, particularly anything new and advanced, as always being superior to anything that came before it. I frequently see posts making fun of how things were done only a few years ago. That’s all well and good, and sometimes I wholeheartedly agree, but as with many things, it is on a case-by-case basis. Technology is only as good as how it enhances your work or your life. Or, put another way: Technology is great…when it works. When it doesn’t, it’s a nightmare.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
There are so many options for keeping track of meetings and appointments that it’s impossible to name them all, but one very common one is from Google. Google Calendar is a great tool with numerous beneficial features, including being able to send a calendar invite to someone else in the moment so they have it and none of the pertinent information is lost. However, there are times when an online calendar is a real pain. Ever had your Internet service go out just when you need it most? Or you’re in some location (like the heart of New York City) where you can’t get a consistent signal? Ever had other people add meetings to your calendar just because they can see you have an opening and they want to meet with you? None of that can happen on your low-tech paper calendar. Am I suggesting you go back to a paper calendar? No, it’s obvious we have gone way beyond that. But with low tech, you don’t run into these problems, so maybe a paper backup is a good thing.
A very low-tech version of a tickler system has a physical folder for each day of the month and one for each month of the year. You can have a digital tickler system and many people do, but again you run the risk of not being able to reach it. And if you’re very kinesthetic, there’s a tendency to want to see and touch the contents. Don’t be swayed or influenced by “technology shaming” from others when you have a system that works for you. Sometimes low tech really is better. You can read more about tickler systems here.
Clocks versus smartphone:
A smartphone while traveling is absolutely essential, but when it comes to using it as an alarm clock, sometimes a real one is better. What if your battery dies out because you forgot a charger or a second battery? And what about those pesky notifications? You know the ones. You’re trying to sleep and “ding” a text message comes in. ‘Who could it be? It might be really important? I’d better check it.” And it turns out to be anything but important, or it’s very important but there is nothing you can do about it where you are, so you start stressing out. It’s annoying, not to mention bad for your health due to lack of sleep, to hear notifications of text messages, social media posts and instant messages all night long. I like to silence the phone, but if you’re using it as an alarm, this can pose a problem.
Don’t get me started. Yes, she is convenient. Yes, I too am using all the great features, but one has to wonder about the down side. It is really creepy. You have probably heard about the privacy issues, including this recent example.
We each have to make our own choices, and it’s easy to ignore downsides when they don’t seem to be impacting us at that particular point in time. Still, it’s good to really think about your decisions as more and more devices include privacy concerns.
Have a plan:
To me, being able to make decisions based on what works best for you in your particular situation far outweighs getting the shiny new object or new technology just because you can. Think of technology as a continuum from simple to advanced: sometimes sticking to a low-tech solution is the best way to go, at least until it reaches a point where the newer tech works for you.
And, again, who cares what others think? What matters is what you think and how fun, exciting, and productive your work and life is. Being tied to the latest and greatest thing and other people’s opinions is the ultimate enslavement. Isn’t your life worth more than that?
To your success!
P.S. I’m delighted to say I’m getting a lot of takers on the Media Strategy Sessions. I think it’s because more and more people know a good deal when they see one. There is so much you can do on your own, but you absolutely need a strategy. Without that, it’s all just guess work. Check it out here and let’s talk!