I remember the very first time I was introduced to computer technology: a Commodore 64 home computer at a school friend’s house. I fell in love with it, head over heels. I knew that one day, I will work in this field. I knew that technology was going to be an amazing part of what mankind can be…
…I also remember the days when you needed to be in the vicinity of a landline phone to be reached remotely. I remember the days when your work hours were just that – the time you spend at your office or place of work. I remember the days you had to plan your meals, your petrol, your everything, to ensure you had what you needed for the weekend, else you would be waiting until Monday, 09:00-ish.
Then, of course with humans doing what humans do, we became increasingly unhappy with this well-balanced lifestyle. We wanted things more easily available, at the drop of a hat, all the time, anytime, and technology enabled it.
Of course, it backfired. It would be unfair to blame computers for the backlash, technology simply answered our incessant calls for instant gratification with everything. Now the lines of work, life, home, family, and me-time are so blurred, we are as deurmekaar as a chameleon on a Smartie box. And we’re constantly bone-tired.
Our lives have changed and will continue to change. For better or for worse, it is up to each of us to make a conscious choice, every day, of how we will use, consume, and rely on technology.
When was the last time you did not check emails over the weekend or responded to the last instant message just before closing your eyes? Can you remember the last time that you told your partner, child, friend, or colleague to just wait a minute while you finish reading, watching, typing, or responding to something on your device of choice?
Life is about discipline and boundaries. We need the discipline to set the boundaries of how technology will form part of our daily lives, at work, at home, in our cars, basically anywhere. Boundaries of when it is acceptable (and healthy) to respond to a work call, email, or "ping". This discipline and these boundaries will prevent burnouts, exhaustion, and emancipation of real life.
Those of you that know me will know, I love technology. I love what technology can do to bring about an improvement to the quality of life, education, health, and wealth. Technology can help humankind and it certainly has already. But it still has an on-off switch. Use it frequently.
I believe in working hard and playing hard. I believe in quality of life. I believe in boundaries, and I set them for office and for home.
I love technology, but I love balance more and so should you.
By Sonja Coetzer