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Speed, give me what I need… more time!

We can buy anything with a few clicks. We don’t need to find a store that sells what we want.

We can ask a question and get an immediate response on Chat GPT. We don’t need to interact with humans.

We can listen to any book or song the moment it sparks our interest. We don’t need to go to the library or buy a CD.

We can watch movies on demand at any point of time. We don’t need to drive to the cinema and wait in line for a ticket.

We can even get expert advice on very specific questions within minutes. We don’t need to search for the right people, book an appointment and travel to their offices.

Pretty amazing, right?

Life has become a series of instant gratification experiences, with the lightning speed of technology and business development having a profound effect on us.

What this speed also does to us is it

  • decreases our attention span;
  • reduce our patience;
  • increase stress, overwhelm and anxiety.

At work, it’s so easy to ping someone and ask them a question. It’s also rewarding to answer questions, as it gives us the quickest feeling that we have done something. It is what ruins our productivity and quality output in the long run as well.

The essential tasks we have on our to-do list usually do not disappear when we spend lots of time on quick, easy and inessential items. In fact, more often than not, this leads to overtime work. Overtime work usually means less time for fun, leisure, and well-being.

The problem is that our culture rewards personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.

Even if topics like mental health and essentialism have gained popularity, we still have respect for people who work hard and put themselves last.

Each Friday at my last job, I had a list of important work tasks I wanted to tackle on the weekend, because then I would finally have the silence and space to think and focus on this essential part of my responsibilities. But then I felt so drained from the meetings-heavy week that I felt like I had no power left to do so.

While technology continuously brings many benefits to the workplace, how much we benefit from its rapid development depends on our ability to manage its negative impact.

The fact that we have all kinds of distractions and instant gratification options at our fingertips, and no effort whatsoever is required to indulge in them, makes it not only the most likely option to choose, but also the fastest habit to build.

Caught in unconscious habit-building and an unnatural speed of life, we often forget what the purpose of technology development is.

If we take a look at an invention like the washing machine for example, we’d easily argue it has been developed to eliminate tedious, repetitive and time consuming work. The same goes for the dishwasher, the smartphone and AI, doesn’t it?

Technology is not there to induce a health-threatening pace of work in our lives. It is there to simplify and automate inessential work, in order to create space for the essential. If technology development does not lead to a better and higher standard of work and life, it is pointless.

Tech is there to help us protect the best asset we have for making a contribution to the world: ourselves.

‍Moving fast and breaking things does not really work anymore. Hustling hard is not how we get to live our best life. The true measure of success today is not money, but peace and joy.

Picture a work life that is centred around your highest point of contribution. Your time is spent on essential activities that bring you fulfilment and expansion. You have an intentional approach to technology and choose tools that help you automate things you don’t want to do anymore, and free up more time for the ones you enjoy.

Often, when we slow down, we can see things that we miss when moving at a high speed. Regaining control over our attention, enhancing our patience, deepening our connection to ourselves are some of the many hidden benefits of reducing noise and distractions. Fostering qualities like these, we automatically ensure a higher quality of work and life that can be sustained long-term, too.