The Digital Life: Is Leisure Dead? Exploring Time Poverty in the Digital Age

by Jon Follett

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Digital Life, the first of 2015, we discuss the design of time, and in particular, the rampant busyness of the digital age — what has been described as the time poverty of knowledge workers. It seems like the work of the digital worker is never done. Software helps users complete tasks more efficiently, but there are two sides to that coin. As we get things done, we are expected to do even more things, adding to that eternal sense of busyness. How do we separate work from play, busyness from leisure in the digital age? Join us as we explore that question.

Here are a few quotes from this week's discussion.

Jon on the struggle for time management:
I struggle with this quite a bit, I think because there’s a need in my own personal cycle to be able to recharge, and I actually very much understand your approach, Dirk, in wanting to be doing something. I find actually, that sometimes my best ideas for work come when I’m unplugged and relaxing. To give you an example of that, when I took some time around the holidays I all of a sudden in the middle of whatever, a meal or something, had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to write about. I quickly ran and grabbed a notebook and wrote all those things down, but in a general sense, the intrusiveness of our communication methods, whether they are via your mobile phone or just email on your desktop or any other kinds of communication types that you can engage on now social media, video calling, all of these things, I struggle with drawing lines where those boundaries are preventative and enable me to have that personal space to unwind. While I enjoy the communication and the fast pace of things, I definitely need to not pay attention to my phone or to my email at certain times.

Dirk on the drive for efficiency in tech:
Yeah, I mean it shouldn’t be a surprise. If we go back and look at the industrial revolution and the evolution of that, from the very beginning it was about how can we do this faster? How can we do this more efficiently? How can we do this cheaper? That thinking has driven the last couple of hundred years of history. It certainly is core to technology and the way that digital technologies have evolved. The whole idea of the storage space doubling every year for example. It’s always been about bigger, better, faster, more.

We’ve created this world that is increasingly becoming full of digital technologies and it has trained all of us to be on that cycle of new phone every year, new computer every year and just always expecting more and better and not just like kind of be content with what we’ve got and the way that we’ve got it.

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Topics: Podcast