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#TechTuesday: Is technology helping or hindering your work and personal life?

#TechTuesday: Is technology helping or hindering your work and personal life?
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Posted: Tue 28th Aug 2012

Technology's great. It enables us to access work wherever we happen to be - on the train, in a cafe, on the beach on holiday... Is this really helpful or is technology actually hindering our ability to communicate, build relationships and get things done? 'Office Auntie' Jane Malyon offers her thoughts on whether tech is helping or hindering our work and personal lives.

Office Auntie: Jane Malyon

Is it cheating to have a foot in both camps here?  I am a self-confessed iPad-aholic ("My name is Jane and I love my iPad") who thinks the ability to show photos, check my calendar and receive emails anywhere is amazing, writes Jane (left). On the other hand, if you make a chatty call near me in the 'Quiet Carriage' of the train, then beware of my manic stare burning a hole in you... and don't even think of leaking your loud music through inadequate headphones or bumping into me while you text!

It's not that I want to be the one and only person having access to this wonderful technology.  However, I do want us all to abide by the rules. The thing is though, that the technology is so relatively new, the rules haven't yet been handed down to us by our elders. On the list however, would certainly be that any time your use of technology is saturating others who don't want it, stop it immediately!  If you're a pimply eighteen year old using million decibel drum and bass to move your car along: go and stand in the corner.  If you are any of the SIX men who allowed your mobile phones to interrupt the speech I gave at our mutual friend's special birthday celebration - each put the Dunce's Cap on now. That's just rude. Simple as.

Time to turn the tech off?

Using technology should enhance our lives (and it does much of the time) - but we really must know when it's time to turn it off... and that's when we're in the presence of others, usually!  That's right. Back away from the Blackberry and tune back into the live human company in front of you. Very good! I remember when emails didn't exist and we still received telegrams for emergency messages (no, Queen Victoria was not on the throne). One plus side of being technology-less was that as youngsters, we would roam the fields with our friends, only returning home for food or plasters.  Our parents had no way of getting in touch.... and they spent zero time fretting.  For our part, we indulged in a blissful sense of timelessness - a quality so much in demand now, that you have to pay top dollar to fly to remote destinations, or be secluded at a spa.  Here's the cheaper version: chuck away your gadgetry - and do not take it on holiday! Instead though, we let the technology control us. Sometimes I sit at my Mac 'harvesting' emails.  Like painting the Forth Road Bridge, as soon as I clear them, more arrive in a never-ending circle.  We're supposed to organise 'I'll get back to you after 4pm' auto-responders to prevent email-lure from breaking our concentration.  We're meant to turn sound down so Facebook/Twitter pings/messages don't lead us into that 'I'll just clear that off....' mentality.  However, the fear of returning to 100 emails is too great... and so we spend our time dipping in and out of an e-world, and wonder at 5.30pm where the day has gone. Therefore, could you send me emails to remind me to take time out to enjoy quality, memory-making time with those around me, please?  It's what really counts and is vitally important.  On the other hand, don't ever try to take my technology away either; I won't let it go without a struggle!

About the contributor

Jane Malyon is a trainer, founder of The English Cream Tea Company and author of Play Nicely! Best Behaviour in Business. You can follow her on Twitter or read her thoughts about business and other issues on her blog.

Need more tech tips? Join in with #TechTuesday, sponsored by HP

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Every Tuesday on Twitter from 11am BST, we host a live tech support and discussion hour, using the hashtag #TechTuesday.

Photo credit: Colin Grey

 
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