Taming Technology – #TechTuesday

Taming Technology

For those who don’t know me very well, I LOVE technology…probably a little too much. I love how it can help me get organized; remind me of birthdays, anniversaries, and other important appointments. Sometimes…technology can get the better of me if I’m not careful. Today I have divided my post two parts and you can read the one which applies to you {you can read them both if you’d like, I won’t mind}. The two parts are:

I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! {OOO, SOMETHING NEW AND SHINY!}

And

WHAT’S THIS BUTTON DO AGAIN?

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I LOVE TECHNOLOGY! {OOO, SOMETHING NEW AND SHINY!}

For those of us who can’t get enough of technology I wonder how alike we are…

If you’re like me, your high tech phone is rarely out of reach and you know every little trick and feature it has to offer. The moment it buzzes or dings, we are compelled to see what new information has popped up. At times, the person who is standing two feet in front of us gets less attention than that 5oz phone.

When we’re sitting at our computer we tend to have at least half a dozen windows open at one time. There’s one for Facebook, Twitter, work email, personal email, a blog or two, Pandora, and whatever search engine we’re working with at that moment. 

I love multitasking, but being able to multitask efficiently is a myth. Instead we find ourselves constantly busy, yet at the end of the day we barely remember what we accomplished!

At times we are able to get technology under control, instead of letting it control us, but other times, we get sucked into overload and wonder why we didn’t get anything done!

I have a little something that has made a difference for me, especially while at work. It’s a desktop application called Rescue Time.

Pure and simple, this App tracks what you do while on your computer. How much time is spent on any given website or computer application such as Word or Excel. If you leave your computer alone for five minutes it will ask you where you’ve been. In this way, you are able to record minute by minute what you did all day. You can set up alerts letting you know that you’ve spend 45minutes on all social networking sites; you can adjust the time limit to fit your needs. When you dig a little deeper, you can change the settings dictating what is “productive” and what isn’t. Check out their tour for a better image of how it works.

If you go Pro, there is an added feature called “Focus Time” where all “non-productive” sites and applications are blocked for 45min. I have not taken the plunge into Pro…but I have seriously considered doing this to help focus my time, because seeing my little Facebook and Twitter page light up on my screen distracts me even though I don’t even realize it!

Another handy tool is the Leech Block extension for Firefox. It’s like RescueTime without the bells and whistles.

LeechBlock is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.

Now for phones and hanging out with friends or family. One of the greatest blessings that helped me was when my phone BROKE. My iPhone was permanently on silent for weeks; the alarm and iTunes still worked, but I was no longer notified of phone calls, texts, emails, or other sounds. At first I was frustrated because I would miss a text or phone call, but then I realized the people I was spending time with…got more of my attention! So I offer some very simple advice.

When you are with someone and you want to give them all of your attention, whether it’s your spouse, kids, family, or friends. Simply put your phone on silent and put it away; better yet, turn it OFF. I know for some of us, this can be hard because we want to know what’s going on, but the beauty of technology is that it will still be there when we turn it back on.

One last note and something FUN! Stop by my Apptastic Page for some of my favorite Apps. If you have one to add, I would LOVE for you to share in a comment on that page.

You can continue reading or scroll down to the end of this post for a few closing remarks.

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WHAT’S THIS BUTTON DO AGAIN?

I was born when “the brick” was first invented; the first cell phone which weighed 2lbs, worked for 30mins at a time, and looked like THIS. Believe me when I say I understand how fast technology changes!

I grew up using dos codes on the computer to access programs and Atari was my Wii U. Windows ’95 was HUGE when it came out! I was in high school when I signed up for my first email account and we only had internet because my mom worked for the Air Force. I was SO excited and I didn’t even have anyone I could email! I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in college. By then texting had begun but was still expensive.

For you, technology may not be your best friend, but there are so many ways it can help you relieve yourself of clutter and help you get organized while on the go…but first…how do we figure it all out? My solution for you is sooooooo simple…ask a teenager!

I work with youth sixth-twelfth grade and I am constantly amazed with just how much they know about the technology in today’s world. Then again, unlike us, they have been raised with all of this newfangled stuff. For many of us, by the time we’ve figured out how to use it all, it’s out of date already!

One idea to getting a better understanding of technology is to host a Techno Party. This would be a GREAT opportunity to talk with your church’s youth leader and ask for a little help. Host a get together in your home or church and invite any friends or church members who would like help figuring out their phone, computer, GPS, Facebook, Twitter, or any other piece of technology. Invite the youth of your church to come for free refreshments {free food works wonders with youth} and ask them to go around helping and answering questions. If you have an active youth group, you may even be able to have them set up little “workshops” covering different topics such as Social Networking, Computer Basics {Word, iTunes, Excel, etc}, and Getting to Know your Phone. I am more than willing to help your youth leader get started.

Another wonderful way of getting to know your technology is to visit YouTube. There are so many How-To videos on the web that it’s very easy to watch someone walk you through the process. The benefit for using YouTube, is that you can pause or re-watch videos whenever you need to! Simply enter your query into the search box and click enter. You could type in key words such as: “Android calendar tutorial” or “Delete friend from Facebook.” The only word of caution I have here is that, I cannot guarantee what kind of language or music is included in the video, but I have never had a problem when searching for a How-To video.

Ultimately, the more you learn about the technology you have, the more you can put it to work for you; especially your cell phone and computer. However, if what you do now WORKS for you, then do NOT feel pressured be “more advanced.” If what works best for you is a day planner in your bag and you never forget an appointment, that’s wonderful, keep doing what you are doing. I do hope the two ideas above will help anyone who does want to learn more about what they have.

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LAST THOUGHT

As I mentioned before, if you have a system that works for you, there is no reason to feel pressured into changing that system. Don’t be afraid to try something new either, you never know if you’ll like something unless you try it.

Inspired by Glynnis Whitwer’s book I Used to Be So Organized

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