The most common complaint against technology and the Internet age is that they are time-sinks that affect productivity and quality of life. Indeed, it is not rarely that we find ourselves lost in the jungle of hyperlinks and distractions, in a task that started out as being focused, specific and time bound.
A study published in the Journal of Media Education shows that college students spend a fifth of their time in class being engaged online in tasks not connected to their school work.
A recent Time Inc. study found that digital natives constantly jump between different forms of digital media about once every minute.
(Picture Credit: Negative Space)
However, it is interesting that like a toxin which becomes a medicine to treat toxicity, digital tools themselves can be used effectively for time management and productivity improvements.
- Rescue time monitors your daily habits and sends you periodic alerts of how you used your time online.
- Focus booster, based on the pomodoro technique, is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time.
Mindmapping tools such as Mind42 can help focus thoughts, thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.
Dejal TimeOut helps to take breaks during work by periodic forced dimming of the screen to give you the necessary break from staring at a screen for too long.
The apps and tools listed above are merely representative of the great time management assistance available in the digital arena. We must however remember that time management skills, must centre around human needs and psychology. The plethora of tools for time management are useless without the core human competence of self-discipline. Lack of discipline and commitment can lead to procrastination and abuse of the same technology that can help us in increasing our sense of satisfaction and wellbeing. With the digital era slowly emerging from its nascent state, and an entire generation of digital natives entering adulthood, it is important to make technology an asset in time management rather than a deterrent.