I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with technology. And I am often uncertain which side is greater.
For every positive thing that technology provides (capturing memories instantly, immediate connections with people, being accessible for emergencies) there seems to be a negative (the need to constantly check for communications, social media drama, being too easily accessible).
When I concentrate, however, I can remind myself that I have the power of technology, and I am the one who can choose how to use it. I don’t need to be a slave to it – although that’s sometimes hard to remember!
If you are like me, here are a few ways that technology helps me focus on the important things in my life.
This one is probably at the top of my list. The ability to sync calendars and see where everybody needs to be and when they need to be there has helped focus on family time.
I remember having to use a wall calendar to keep everyone’s schedules straight. That was fine, but if I was out running errands, I wasn’t able to check the time on something. (was the doctor’s appointment at 3:00 or 3:30?) Now, I can just look at my phone and see it all in front of me.
This used to be something that I would have to carve time out of my schedule to do. Depending on how often I went to the store, it could take a couple of hours.
I know some people like this time; it’s the only time they get to themselves, and they like to wander the aisles, comparing prices, and seeing if there are new products to try. I totally get that, and when time allows, it’s nice to have a breather.
During the lockdowns, it often seemed like going to the store was more hassle than it was worth. The arrows on the floor, the masks, the lines to get in due to capacity restrictions – grocery shopping became more of a chore.
But now, with the introduction of online shopping, people can do all of the shopping virtually. Choose the items, put them in your cart and pay. Then you even have the option of having it delivered or picking it up curbside.
I remember having to sit down every month with a stack of bills and a checkbook to pay the monthly bills. Not only was this time consuming but it could sometimes produce anxiety. Let’s face it, we all have that one bill that we never want to see, right?
But now, with direct deposit and online banking, I can pay everything much quicker. And for those businesses that offer autopay, I don’t even have to think about the bill. Once it’s set up, I don’t have to think about it anymore.
There are several other things that technology has improved but the focus on what is important is top of the list.
Time spent at the grocery store or paying bills can now be refocused on the family. Sure, it’s possible to take your kids grocery shopping (if you dare) but there are better ways to use that time together.
Even improved scheduling capability can result in better family time. I have one friend who has now synced her kids’ calendars so that she doesn’t waste extra time driving to and from the various activities. It may seem like over-scheduling to some people, but if you have more than two kids, it becomes vital.
That time in the car can be spent discussing how their days went, dissecting a coach’s suggestions from practice, and celebrating achievements. Any extra time that can be used to connect with your kids is a bonus.
I can set alerts to remind me of things that are important to me. For example, exercise is vital, and usually, I don’t need a reminder to get a session in. But there have been times when I have been wrapped up in a project and just need that little nudge to get me moving to the next thing.
Along with alerts, there are numerous apps that I can use for motivation. I can set up daily affirmations, meditations, and quotes of the day (to name a few).
Even when my life seems to be under control, just that little “ping” signifying the delivery of a motivational quote can provide that extra boost to keep me going.
…technology is what you make of it. It can be a blessing or a curse – or both. But I try to take the positive from it as much as I can. And I think that increasing and enhancing family time is the most important way that technology has helped me focus on the important things in my life.
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