Are we using technology, or is it using us?


Date: 28 September 2011

Man on phone under water

The good thing about technology is that you can work from anywhere. The bad thing about technology is that you can work from anywhere. Even as I write this I am in Spain, trying not to work.

These days, it is hard to ignore the calls on the mobile, the SMS, the emails, the tweets and pokes. But not all that long ago, things were very different.

In The shift: the future of work is already here, the book’s author Lynda Gratton reminisces about the days when you would come into work at 9am, start by opening your letters and take the day from there. Come 5pm you’d finish work, and the rest of the day was your own.

I was born in the 60s, so I remember those days myself. No BlackBerry. No laptop. No iPhone winking away at you at night or before breakfast.

Those days are over.

Is technology good or bad?

Nowadays, mobile technology can keep you in touch with work from anywhere on the planet. But is it good or bad for our working lives?

That post claimed that young professionals - particularly those under 35 - say they feel more relaxed knowing they can stay connected with colleagues, handle problems that develop and keep an eye on their workload while they’re away from work.

Business owners are even more addicted to staying in touch with work when they’re not meant to be working. I was once asked to write a book about work-life balance for entrepreneurs. I thought achieving a balance was incredibly hard then. Nowadays, it’s even harder.

Use technology to your advantage

If you use it properly, technology can work to your advantage. To begin with, I recommend reading The four hour work week. It will open your eyes as to how technology, procedures and automation can help you free up time to do other things and work on your business rather than in your business.

And isn’t that the holy grail for any business owner? The cash register going ‘kerching’ while you’re hanging in a hammock in Spain, cycling the Alps or trekking in the Himalayas.

How do you feel about technology, work, holidays and getting away from your company? Is technology the tool that’s given you the ability to take a holiday for the first time in years? Or does it feel like a chain that keeps you close to your desk, no matter how far you travel?

Ron Immink is CEO of Book Buzz and a contributor to Small Business Can.

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