There is no doubt that technological progress has made our lives simpler in many ways, think about how easy is to send an email compared with write a letter and send it through postmail, or download the new album of your favorite artist from Itunes without having to leave your warm house to go to the record store. These are just two examples but I could find many others, we all agree that living in the 21th century gives us advantages that were unthinkable twenty years ago. But are we equally sure that all this technology helps us also to save time?
Let’s jump back in time twenty years and try to remember what was to send an email at that time. Computers were much slower than they are now, only for the start were needed more or less five minutes, another five minutes to connect to the internet and, let’s say, 15 minutes to upload and send the letter, for a total twenty-five minutes.
Looks like prehistory, right? Today 15 seconds are enough to start a laptop, connect to the internet can’t take more than 10 seconds and we can immediately access our account, upload the letter and send it within 2 minutes.
Oh that’s great! Every time that we send an email we save twenty-three minutes, considering that averagely we send more or less 10 emails per day we should save at least 3 hours per day. Of course we will use that time to meet up with our friends, to take a walk in the city or go to the gym or, why not, start an interesting reading not necessarily related with our job. So the answer is Yes, all of us should be grateful to our beautiful devices that allow us to save lots of time and give more space to our freetime.
Then… Why are we always so busy? Maybe there is something wrong in what I just wrote?
Let’s do it again. I’m sure that 15 seconds are enough to start my laptop, 10 second to connect to the internet and now I’ve only to open my Gmail account. But first... I will take a look to my Facebook account, it will take no more than 5 minutes (it never happens), and of course I need to check also my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to see if someone tried to reach me during the night, 10 minutes, no more ( I’m lying, again) Ok, now I’m ready to send that letter! Not yet.... I use to keep myself informed so I need to read the news before to start working, at least some titles in the main newspaper’s web pages. Usually if I don’t find nothing really interesting it doesn’t take me more than 15 minutes.
Ok finally I can send the email, I only need 2 minutes to access my account and upload the file, thanks technology!
So, in the end I spent 32 minutes and 25 seconds to send the email, 7 more minutes than 20 years ago. Considering that averagely I send 10 emails per day I lost at least one hour per day. Unfortunately this is how things work, we always think to be faster thanks to the technological progress, but we waste lot’s of time surfing the net without a real aim and in the end we have less free time than before.