Machines have not liberated us from work…
The unparalleled velocity of computerisation, telecommunications, and transport, which was expected to free up human time, has paradoxically been accompanied by a growing sense of time pressure.
…as a culture we have a shared experience of temporal impoverishment.
Judy Wacjman writes “Finding Time in a Digital Age and impresses upon us this approach into understanding the “fraught and complex” relationship we have with technology, its sovereignty in our lives, and our ability to choose exactly how, with what and with whom we allocate our precious, precious time to.
This reading is an explosion of understated ideas that often boils in the back of my mind (and perhaps yours too) concerning how much time we spend on our phones, computers, tablets, iPads, consoles as opposed to well, not. Wacjan says that a “digital detox diet” isn’t the best New Year’s Resolution out there. Why? Because technology, whether one likes it or not, plays a very significant role in our everyday lives. How does one successfully man a ship of balance then? By adapting the allocation and value concept, of course.
I once used my phone as a means to establish a boundary from itself and though it is contradictory in some if not, all respects, it is a “powerful resource that enables [us] to take control of time”. Do I agree with it? Somewhat, but a tool as powerful as a smartphone has its consequences; your phone as an alarm clock is one of them.
A good two months ago, I decided to go in what I like to call the 21-day social media fast. As an avid user of social media, most of my time has been allocated into checking these sites every morning the minute I wake up and down to the wee hours of the evening, 2 a.m. and you have a class the next day. It was a prison routine and I wanted, needed a breather. So I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, re-arranged my bookmarks tab and settled into a journey of detoxify and #freshen.
A Social media fast is an example of time-allocation. I choose which activity I spend the most time on and I choose the ones that matters: notifications for e-mails only, birthday celebrations, group meets in half an hour. Without the distractive influence of people’s photo posts and diary entries online, I get to write on my own diary, reflect on bygone days, Xbox with the little sister and watch X Factor with the ‘rents.
“Technology barely figures in any of these discussions about the politics of time, except as an external factor that eats into leisure.”
I agree 100%.
What needs to be sought out is the idea (to be put into practice) that latest technologies can be “recruited as a resource in our quest for discretionary time”. We need to get into a mentality that slow is good also, that it doesn’t necessarily negate the importance of the instance of consumption. The key for me is the balance act between your work life, your tech life, your social life et al. You can enjoy technology, use it for its purposes and not miss out on the pleasures and sensory delights of Mother Nature. You can go to work and buzz in the cash just as long as it doesn’t eat up the quality time spent with mum, dad, grandma, sister, cousin. There is no impossibility to harmonising them all, to be honest.