Technology Has Made Me Lazy or More Productive!

by Krantcents · 21 comments

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Technology has made me lazy! I used to do basic arithmetic in my head. I could count out change without the cash register telling me what change I needed to make. I could spell without using spell check. I used to be able to write a handwritten note without a lot of thought. You may think it is just part of getting older, except it started forty (40) years ago.

Disclaimer

This is not meant to turn back the clock on technology or progress. I love technology and have incorporated it into my life. Although I love the convenience, increased access to much information and the higher productivity, I think it does change how we do things. Some technology has made us more productive and made our lives easier. It has certainly affected the ways in which we think, solve problems and perform routine daily tasks. All of these changes may not have a positive effect on our brains.

It started 40 years ago

When I was in high school we did not have calculators. We learned to use a slide rule which is a mechanical analog computer. You could perform multiplication and division, and functions such as roots, logarithms and trigonometry. In college, it was the engineering and math/science students who used them on a regular basis. Most other students only used them on an irregular basis. This all preceded calculators.

You would  not just use it o do simple arithmetic or even ordinary calculations. It was much easier to take out a piece of paper and pencil to do those simple things. You still needed to do much more than using a calculator. Calculators changed all that! Initially, they were real expensive and mostly desktop instruments. So they were used for work and not much more. I took t it like a duck to water!

After just a few years, I noticed that what I used to do mentally was not as easy as before. Before long, I could use a ten key (similar to a telephone) much faster and it made me more productive or did it? I was getting better with the technology, but I was more dependent on using it too. I could not do the arithmetic or calculations mentally as fast, but I could use the machine better.

Technology does not change all at once. I remember studying the checkless society in Finance class more than forty (40) years ago. At one time, cash, checks and credit cards were the main method of payment then debit cards, electronic payments and prepaid cards started. It took a very long time for consumers to embrace these new forms of payment. There are still people who do not have checking accounts, or other forms of payment technology. Change takes a long time!

We still use cash and checks, although there are many more convenient ways of paying for a product or service. I normally do not carry cash, but rely on credit cards almost exclusively. I like this technology, but it does change the way I think. Instead of counting my change, I must review my receipt for accuracy and make sure I hang on to it for my recordkeeping. I am much more conscious of my identity being stolen and these are the result of the change in technology.

Am I more productive?

I no longer have to remember phone numbers, pass codes, passwords, or how much cash I should have in my pocket. Is it better? In most cases, I like it better because I get to choose what I want to remember, but it does not stop there! It means I need to solve problems differently. I need to learn these new technologies and what to do when it breaks or I lose it. It used to be that I could not lose my home phone because it was plugged into the wall (permanently).

Now I am dependent on my cell phone for my entire address book, pictures, or much more. I no longer know the twenty or thirty phone numbers I use all the time and my memory is working differently than before. I do not even remember my phone number because I do not call myself and I rarely give it to people. I can use my phone to pay bills or receive payment, connect to the internet, or so much more. My life is simpler, but more complicated than before. I spend more of my time using technology, but am I more productive in the real sense?

I have so much more access to information, but I do not want to spend all my time figuring out how to use it. Information is the new currency or power tool! It can make us more money, more productive or even rich! Does it also make us more dependent on the technology too? I find at times, I cannot read everything so I use readers which will filter what I am interested in. This makes me more productive, but am I missing out on something?

How I use technology?

I make choices! I embrace what helps me and discard what I think will just make me lazy. I use online banking and credit cards because it saves me money and makes me more productive. I never use debit cards because I see no advantage to pay anyone instantly unless I receive a cash discount. Since the bank charges the store a fee that will never happen! I do not have a Smartphone because I cannot justify the additional cost for the convenience of being connected yet. These may change!

Final Thoughts

Technology is wonderful, but you should only embrace the things that actually improve your life. Buying the newest item is foolish because something better, cheaper and more productive is just months away. New technology is introduced almost monthly and it is always better and less expensive than before. Just a few years ago, social media was just an idea! We are a mobile society and there will be many new things to make us more productive, but it will also change how we think too!

Desktop computing is no longer the trend! Smaller, more powerful mobile computing combined with communication devices, online access and much more is the future!. We still need to selectively use the new technology to supplement our lives and prepare for change. Changes in software and mobile devices are moving at lightning speed. Texting, social media and networking cannot replace personal or professional relationships, but you can use technology to supplement your relationships.

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Technology has made me lazy!

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{ 16 comments }

The First Million is the Hardest December 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

I do notice I rely on technology to do some things that I once did easily on my own. Basic math is a big one. Between using calculators and excel spreadsheets for everything at work I find that when I have to do math in my head I struggle a lot more than I did before I used technology to do it all for me.

Krantcents December 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I started to notice this much more as I got older. I think I need to constantly exercise that portion of my brain otherwise I will lose it entirely.

Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa December 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I’m terrible with phone numbers. If I was at a pay phone in an emergency situation, I have no idea who I would call… it is scary how much we depend on these electronic devices.

Krantcents December 27, 2013 at 7:25 pm

That is thanks to your contact list. Since I am pretty good with numbers, I remember about 10 numbers, I also know my wife’s and my driver license, Social Secrity numbers and even some credit card numbers. I suppose I will eventually remember less thanks to technology though.

Kosio Angelov December 28, 2013 at 11:12 am

“Technology is wonderful, but you should only embrace the things that actually improve your life.” – this summarizes in a great way what I think of technology and productivity.

Technology definitely makes us more productive, but only when used the right way. There are more things fighting for our attention then ever before and the only way to manage all this demand is with technology.

I cannot imagine doing research by going to the local library and wasting hours reading through mountains of old books with obsolete information, as an example.

But there is also the flip side. Checking your social media and email every 2 minutes from your smart phone, tablet or other gadget will hinder your productivity like nothing else.

Like everything else in life, when used in moderation, technology makes your more productive. When you abuse it, it makes you less productive.

Krantcents December 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I often see my students texting other students who are next to them! It will have an effect on their social skills and I do not mean in a positive way. Technology certainly helps us do things faster, but there are negatives too. As I get older, I am concerned about keeping my brain stimulated and it makes me think of how I can use technology to do that. I know that just learning a new technology, I am stimulating my brain. I agree everything in moderation is a good rule.

Poor Student December 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

I use technology all the time in school and it makes me more productive, but I don’t spend time doing math that a calculator will do, so I guess I am a bit more lazy for it.

Krantcents December 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

As a former CFO, I think I was attached to my calculator! The dependence on the calculator has made my brain lazy with numbers. I can no longer do many calculations in my head.

Justin @ RootofGood December 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I hit the ultimate in tech related lazy recently. I typed out part of a long word like “occ”. Then for a few seconds I sat there and stared at the word fragment, waiting for the computer to auto-fill the rest of the word. The problem was that I wasn’t typing into the search bar in google; it was a word document.

I had to get old-fashioned and actually type out the whole word “occasionally”. I even spelled it correctly.

Krantcents December 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Actually, I would categorize that as an aid for productivity. I have become so calculator or spread sheet dependent that I can no longer perform some simple math like I used to as a child. I guess I will have redirect my thinking to keep my brain sharp!

Justin @ RootofGood December 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I think overall the autofill technology increases productivity, but it’s shocking when you don’t realize you’re taking those kind of shortcuts!

Krantcents December 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I in favor of shortcuts particularly those routine, boring, repetitive type of processes. Onetime those routine processes replace thinking which which is not good.

STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) January 2, 2014 at 5:59 am

Interesting points. We need to be careful how we use and view technology. We all still need to be strong at math but I fear that technology will limit our ability and skill in this area. Shortcuts from tech gear is good as long as it does not make us less competent financially.

Krantcents January 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

This article came from my lower ability to do math in my head. Technology has helped in so many areas, but I think it diminishes some of my abilities and enhances others. The net is a plus, but you have to be careful!

Alex January 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

Might sound odd, but the use of word processing has always assisted my spelling. Spellchecker taught me as I wrote more and more, but I’m still old school; I keep an actual thesaurus nearby. My mental arithmetic has always been O.K as well.
And it is better to keep slightly behind with technology. Online banking and such are vital, but the latest phones and tablets are too expensive and not entirely necessary.

Krantcents January 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Technology has become a convenience which I sometimes avoid to do it the old fashioned way. I need to keep my brain exercised and keen otherwise I get lazy.

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