Don’t Let Technology Kill Your Time

“A failure to properly automate can cause you to procrastinate.”

The lack of technology killed my time. The year was 1992 and I was an undergrad at Hampton University. I wanted to make a phone call and decided to go the pay phone. I realized that I did not have quarter and had to go get change. When I got back, there was someone on the phone so I had to wait. 

Later in the day, I got a letter from a friend who had transferred to a school in Wisconsin. She updated me on how she was doing and wanted to hear back from me. There was no Facebook, email or texting, and I could not afford the long distance bill. My only option was to write her a letter, drop it in the mailbox, and wait. 

That evening, the pay phone was finally free so I decided that I would make a collect call to my parents and ask them to send me some money. The line was busy and since there were no cell phones or Skype service, I had to . . . wait. 

Now that we are in 2012, technology has eliminated all of my time management issues, right? 

Technology is like a gun. When used properly, it can protect your time and add to your life. Just like a gun, technology in the wrong hands can kill your time and keep you away from your family. Think about it, you can spend your entire day responding to emails, answering your cell phone, and communicating on social media. 

Have you ever been out at a restaurant in the evening and seen a guy who is with his family, but spends his entire time on his smartphone? If you can relate to that guy, the tools below are for you. They will help you to effectively use technology and get your time back:

  1. RescueTime
    RescueTime is a free app that allows you to measure how much time you spend on email, the Internet and social media. It gives you daily and weekly productivity scores based on the amount of time you spend surfing. You can adjust the settings and program predetermined time limits for any website. Once you exceed your limit the app will deny you access to that site. For example, if you feel you spend too much time on Facebook, you can set a limit of 15 minutes per day. Once you exceed your limit, Rescue time will deny you access.

  2. HootSuite
    If you are like me and use Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and Google+, the HootSuite app can save you a great deal of time. It will allow you to send one message that will update on all of your social media accounts at the same time. HootSuite also gives you the option to schedule your posts in advance.

  3. Sanebox
    This nifty service will help you keep your e-mail inbox clean by creating separate folders for unimportant messages. Sanebox will also allow you to create an “unsubscribe folder” where you can move any newsletter or blogs that you no longer read and unsubscribe to multiple lists with one click. You can also program follow up reminders for emails you've sent that haven't received a response.

There you have it. All three of these services are free and can save you a great deal of time.