The cure for technology overload isn’t more technology

Dave Pell doesn’t blog much – his time is largely spent on his excellent daily NextDraft news round-up – but when he does, he’s always worth reading. Today’s piece on the distracting, abstracting effects of technology is particularly good:

I need to turn off once in awhile. I work with people all over the world, so there’s always someone online who’s ready to collaborate. My email inbox has become so cluttered that I spend more time managing it than the rest of my life. I’m distracted all the time. I’m never fully present when I’m with my family. Even when I know I should be taking a break, I feel the vibrating phone in my pocket and I get sucked back in.

I think we all suffer from that to some extent, and the more tech we have – the more sites and services we must constantly check – the more we suffer from it. I’m ending 2012 in much the same way I started it, with two unfinished fiction books largely plotted but half-written and a hard disk full of unfinished songs. The songs, at least, are moving – but only because every week, David and I put our phones aside and work on them for a few hours. In those few hours, stuff gets done – but the hours we spend on music pale in comparison to the hours I spend fannying around on the iPad.

For all of technology’s joys, it can be an enormous time thief.