Overuse of Technology – Are you Guilty?

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Many years ago, I heard this phrase “Overuse of Technology”. Of course, back then computers and calculators were relatively new. Academia was worried about individuals overusing technology and letting their brains get soft. The argument at the time was that it was much quicker to add 2 + 2 in your brain than to open your computer (think OLD x86 for you techies), start Windows, open calculator, type “2 + 2 =” and get the result. Well, of course that takes longer. But what about some major calculation (shoot, I have trouble with dividing stuff to this day!)? Of course a calculator would most likely be faster.

Fast forward about 25 years. Technology has certainly changed, as have our habits. Look around. Everyone you see has a phone. Almost everyone you see is looking at that phone. Playing Games? Reading eMail? Writing a blog post? Perhaps. But they are still looking at their phones. I’m in Atlanta airport at the moment waiting to board a plane. I’m looking around and if the individuals aren’t ON their phones, most are looking at them, or their tablets, or  eating. The rare individual is actually talking to another.

Thomas Jefferson quoteNow this post isn’t one of those about spending time with your loved ones, although that’s not a bad idea. I want to talk to you about overuse of technology in blogging. Think about it. As new or relatively new bloggers, you are exposed to all kinds of technology applications, programs, gadgets, and the next thing to make it faster, easier, or prettier. Right? So can we, as bloggers, afford to ignore that technology? Absolutely not. Can we be selective on what we choose to spend time learning or using? Absolutely. So let’s dive in.

overuse of technologyOveruse due to Making it Pretty

We all want our blog sites to be pretty. Or our pins, or our Instagram, or Facebook posts. And in some cases, it’s fairly important that it’s attractive, spelled correctly, and formatted somewhat. But I submit that learning every single graphic program available isn’t effective. For example, if you don’t know graphic artistry very well, don’t jump in to the Adobe cc suite. It’s truly awesome! But OMG it’s overwhelming. Sure you may want to learn it at some point, but how many blog posts do you have? Are you posting regularly on social media? How about your mailing list? Or Tripwire? If all of those things are completed and doing well, then yes, you should absolutely jump in and learn more graphics. If not, isn’t your time better spent getting those things done first? Same with your theme. Find a theme that has MOST of the things you like and looks good. Don’t spend an enormous amount of time making it pretty. Down the road, you can hire a graphic designer to make a pretty one for you.

Document Creation Overuse

Let’s see, there’s Microsoft Word, Open Office, Pages, Adobe, eCovers, and so many more. Stick with what you know. If you are familiar with Word, use word. You can always import it to Canva or Adobe to put the “pretty” on it. Don’t try to make Adobe Forms if you aren’t familiar with Adobe Writer. You have more important things to do.

Course Hoarding

I think this is a true addiction and I am very familiar with it. You see a course, hear about one, see it on Pinterest, etc. You MUST have it. Or you see a bundle (I’m sooo guilty of Ultimate Bundles). There are TONS of information in those bundles. Do you have the time to do all the courses? Of course not. Are they full of valuable information? Most of them, yes. So what do you do? Refer back to the first section. If your blog is on a good glide path, then go for it! Otherwise, try to break the course down in chunks. In other words, if I’m working on Pinterest right now, then I may purchase Jennifer Maker’s Pinterest Launch Plan or another course. I can then break that down into chunks I can live with. For example this week, I will do Sections 1-3, next week 4-6, etc. But I will ONLY do Pinterest courses this next 2 or 3 weeks. When I start focusing on another area, I will only do those types of courses. Otherwise, your brain may object.

Overuse of Technology Organization

Oh my, this one I’m really bad about. I will start writing a post or working on my blog and look up in my home office. I think “I should probably straighten up that desk before I start” or “do the laundry” or “whatever excuse I can think of”. Or even worse, before I even start, I must reorganize the entire home office (keep in mind, my home office is 14 x 14 and ONLY my home office, so that could take awhile). Reorganization to me could mean moving furniture around, shelves, and the like. I always think I could work more efficiently if only… Stop it. Just do the work. Worry about the rest later.

Application Overuse of Technology

In the time of iPads and tablets, this is a common problem. We see the next best thing in applications for notetaking, organization, or blogging and think we should implement it. I have two applications that basically do the same thing. Evernote and Trello. They look slightly different, and act slightly different, but bottom line, they both hold the information for organization and control. I used to use Evernote religiously. Then someone came up with a couple of trello boards and I was hooked on Trello. There is nothing wrong with either of those. The problem is… I will spend HOURS on my Trello board adding things, moving things around, using it as a content calendar, then as an editorial calendar, then forgetting about it for awhile.

Always remember, applications are TOOLS. They are meant to be used as tools. If you spend more time in the tool that just doing the task, it’s overuse.

Overuse of Technology Planners

Is that a thing? Seriously? Well, yeah. I’m a planner girl. I LOVE planners. But you can have too many. Consider if you write a task or block of time in your planner, then add the same thing to your phone and/or computer, that’s double the time. Then add it to your monthly calendar, etc. Not a big deal if it’s standard time blocking … on Wednesdays I block time for writing … but what if it’s every day tasks? Does my hair appointment REALLY need to go on all of the calendars? What about the work appointment that is only for today? Reoccuring appointments, absolutely, but one-offs? Maybe not.

So Before you Take On another thing…

Jennifer Maker has a post about the Maker’s Schedule for Creative Spirits that you also may find interesting and that may help you with time management. So before you take on another app, program, calendar, planner, or whatever, consider whether or not it’s the best use of your time. Does it really matter? Will it make a difference in your long-term or short-term goals? How will it help you, really? Remember, there is such as thing as overuse of technology.

Thomas Jefferson once said “There is no substitute for hard work.” I submit that these “time savers” sometimes aren’t really saving you anything. Do the work. Make the time. Make sure your technology is actually helping and not an overuse of technology.

Until next time, happy blogging.

Annie Richardson Consulting

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