Technology. Do you ever feel like you just can’t keep up?
Yea, me too!
Do you know why you feel that way? Because you can’t!
It’s simply impossible to keep up with the increase in technology. New technology is being produced too quickly, and current technology is being changed and updated too often.
But the title of this post is “How To Keep Up With Technology” … so what am I talking about?
We may not be able to keep up with technology as a whole, but we can create habits and practices which help us understand and keep up with that which is useful to us.
I came across a blog post which got me thinking about how to do this. Basically, the author gives a laundry list of ways to understand, manage and keep up with technology. Here are a few of the first suggestions he makes:
- Anything you buy, you must maintain.
Each tool you use requires time to learn how to use, to install, to upgrade, or to fix. A purchase is just the beginning. You can expect to devote as much energy/money/time in maintaining a technology as you did in acquiring it.
- Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything until 5 minutes before you need it.
Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete. Therefore acquire it at the last possible moment.
- You will be newbie forever.
Get good at the beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliciting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself).
- Often learning a new tool requires unlearning the old one.
The habits of using a land line phone don’t work in email or cell phone. The habits of email don’t work in twitter. The habits of twitter won’t work in what is next.
- Take sabbaticals.
Have regular times when you let step away, and other times when you take complete sabbaticals. You’ll return with renewed enthusiasm and perspective.
He gives many more suggestions and I’d encourage you to read them. You can see his article by clicking here.
On a personal level, there are 5 ways I’ve found to help me manage and keep up.
5 Keys to Successfully Keeping Up with Technology
1. Be a student of technology to whatever level you can.
Let’s face it, technology isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Having at least a basic understanding has become as important as other “life skills” like knowing how to communicate well. So subscribe to blogs that teach about technology and set aside specific time to read them and learn what they’re talking about. Have a basic awareness and take time to check out what’s happening in technology. You don’t have to be fanatical about it, but don’t keep your head in the sand, either. One way I do this is to read the Fast Company or Wired websites, and I pick up their magazine when I travel.
2. Understand that having the “latest and greatest” isn’t necessary.
I want to maximize technology to make my life easier, business more successful, and understanding of culture greater. But that doesn’t mean I have to switch out my phone every 3 months. Much of the “new” technology is really the same technology in a new package, or technology that is only incrementally better than what was offered before. The “latest and greatest” doesn’t always represent a huge step forward.
3. Get your toes wet before you jump in head first.
I think this is especially true with things like social media. It’s not going away, and new avenues to “connect” are and will continue to pop up regularly. While I want to stay connected, not all of them are for me. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram primarily. I’m on Google+ and LinkedIn also, but am only active occasionally. When something new comes along I might give it a look, but I actually try it out with the premise that I’m not going to jump in unless it really blows me away or I see tremendous value in it.
4. Have a plan for managing technology.
I try to maintain a “technology schedule” by:
- Using tools to do things like schedule the vast majority of my tweets & posts ahead of time. I’m on social media a lot, but I don’t spend a lot of time on it.
- Setting aside regular time to learn new ways to update my websites & understand technology that might be of benefit.
- Integrating as much as I can using tools such as Evernote, Dropbox and Hootesuite.
5. Be content.
I use a Mac laptop with my job (something that was new to me when I started my current job 3 years ago), and I’d love to dive into the world of Mac computers for personal use, too. But right now, frankly, it’s not in the budget. I’ve got an iPhone and an iPad and I love them – they save me TONS of time. I’d love to have a Mac laptop to completely join the Mac cult… but right now I use a 6 year old Toshiba laptop (what this article is being written on!). And that’s OK – it’s been a great tool to help me learn to be content with what I’ve got.
In what ways have you learned to keep up with technology?
(please share in comments below)