Technology is getting faster but we are not. We’re still human and we operate at human pace. Are we starting to forget that? Are we starting to expect performance like a machine?

Yet here’s a great irony, I sat down to write some quick notes for this post but my internet speed was snail-slow and I couldn’t open my website. Even machines get overloaded by human activity. To add to the irony, I’m squeezing in some writing before my loved one gets here. Sometimes it’s just not so easy to fit it all in.

All this speed adds to our stress, and the stress makes us less nice to be around.

Expectations

Multiple modes of communicative technology create the impression that we are always available to respond immediately.

Today I had several people asking if I had done that thing. It had been in my inbox for an hour. Not marked urgent. I’d been doing something else that needed focus. Unless you work for emergency services, an hour shouldn’t be a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. We all do it. But it’s still insane.

Could you scale back your expectations of yourself and others? Can some things wait a bit?

Fixation on a quick response

I think it’s often not so much the inherent urgency of the work that makes us edgy. Often we have so much happening we worry we’ll forget this thing if doesn’t happen now.

Do you often feel so busy you don’t have time to write a To Do list? How could you introduce a bit of sanity?

Always available

Being always available is a new kind of crazy. Along with other factors, it leads to iPhone addiction. It makes us always open for busy (business), never properly on leave, constantly subject to demands from good people and crazy ones alike.

Are you always available? Where could you draw a line?

Automated (like a machine)

Not everything is automated, nor should it be, just because it could be.

I’ve been processing registrations for a conference. I notice that some people seem to expect an automated response. If they don’t have confirmation within a couple of hours, they email again, they ring, they follow-up…  The conference is over a month away but the need for certainty is compelling. They’re tying up loose ends.

Is it better automated or can it stay personal?

Messy, creative and personal

Standard processes can be useful but we humans are messy, creative and personal. Machines are good at consistency. Humans; not so much. We’re good at making it up, breaking out, making something new. So let the machines specialise in ticking the box.

How can you value your very human creativity?

Speed makes us cranky

Keeping up with the expectations of immediacy can make us very cranky. We live in human bodies, they get tired and sometimes sick. We love other humans who also get tired and sick. We need food and rest and time staring at the wall, pottering in the garden, skydiving, rock-climbing, making meringues…

How could you build in some time out?

Put it in perspective 

The machines are not running the show, we are. A machine is a tool. A hammer is a tool. The hammer doesn’t make the house. Let’s think about what we want the machines to do rather than fitting into the production line. A production line makes a lot of cars, very quickly, all the same. Good use of machines. But the vision and the fine-tuning is us.

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