Tag Archives: place

The digital, online world, can give us back our lives: if only we let it

In my last post on this subject, digital progress may give us more analogue time, I provided a link to one tech firm’s vision of the future. What is the ‘future’ depends where you are right now, of course. The vision provided by Virgin Media is well into the future for most people; but for others, there are parts of this vision that is already reality. For example, the freedom exhibited by the main ‘character’, to visit her father in the countryside whilst on the same morning taking part in an international online meeting. The ‘tech’ shown is futuristic, but I (and many colleagues) do this every week, as we talk with each other around the world.

Time is finite. We cannot afford to waste it. Most of us feel that we do not have enough of it. Time is therefore a precious ‘commodity’, to be traded. You sell your time to your employer, or clients. You give your time to others freely, by personal choice. You wish for more time with some people, those you love, and who love you – that time has a higher premium. Do you trade that time for ‘paid’ time, sold to your employer? Maybe you have to do that – maybe time is short, but so is money!

I am forever telling my teenage children not to ‘waste’ time online, in their own digital world. But at their age, they have more time free, and therefore more choice. Depending on the stage in your life-path, you have less time as an adult, and eventually (we all hope) considerable free time as an older retired person. But somewhere between 25 to 65 years of age, most of us hit ‘peak time’, with little room for anything else but work, family, friends, and other commitments that we pick up along the way.

My point? For busy people, somewhere in that mid-life section, a better digital life can provide more analogue time: i.e., the balance of digital and analogue life.

To me, it is about work (using the widest definition – i.e., what you do between rest, play and leisure time) and place. The latter being key to life balance. In the days before our digital life, we needed to be somewhere specific to do our ‘work’. Many still do, but so many more people are now finding that they can get at least some of their daily work done in any place. Test it.

Take the most unlikely digital online worker – someone you think must be somewhere specific to do his or her work. Say, a Police Officer? Mostly, we want to see Police out in public, as we feel reassured and safer (in the UK anyway!), but they also have to write reports, fill in forms, exchange emails, as do the rest of us. Some of that could be done on a laptop or tablet, somewhere non-specific. That could be in a school cafeteria, or staff common room (public building) rather than tucked away in a police station.

Better still, if that school was close to home, whereas ‘the station’ was many miles away, that Police Officer may be able to finish off the ‘paperwork’ (now, less paper, more online) and meet his or her child from school….straight into high-value analogue time. So, digital life has just added to analogue life. Without it, the Police Officer is many miles away, stuck in the Police Station, filling in forms. And his or her child is in after-school club. Both lose valuable time, forever.

Should we invest more in digital, to give us all back our high-value analogue lives? I think we should. What do you think?

Paul (@paulcarder)

Advertisements