Technology Creep vs. Productivity – How Much Does Tech Creep Cost You?

Is technology a positive or negative for today’s average person?  I would argue in most every case it is a positive, but we have to make sure that we do not fall victim to technology creep.  

 

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.”

-Steven Spielberg

 

 

What is Technology Creep?

In MoneyByRamey.com’s lingo, Technology Creep is a situation where technology takes up more and more of your time in a non-productive manner.  This can be hard to define at times but as we are Financial Freedom seekers looking to maximize our productivity and thus minimize our working hours, we would be remiss to gloss over such an important metric in our lives.  

Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

 

Have you been a victim of tech creep? I know that I have. Read on.  

 

Getting Stuck in Technology Creep

I have seen in my own life that technology has been one of the greatest productivity enhancers I have ever encountered.  One of the best things I have done for myself is to master certain aspects of technology, especially Excel, Word, etc. Learning to build systems to create repeatable tasks has greatly enhanced my efficiency as a business owner.  

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

Take for instance the simple task of writing.  I love writing with pen and paper but find that doing so is highly inefficient.  Not only do I have to type out everything that I have written for a second time but often times my handwriting is pretty terrible, so I take extra time to decipher and translate what I had written down.  There is no doubt in my mind that being able to use a computer to write, edit and track my writings has been a huge benefit for my life.

 

Also take the case of Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets, etc.  These programs have allowed me to build templates which auto calculate formulas, ratios, etc. all with only the stroke of a few keys on the keyboard.  This has been phenomenal technology which eliminates the need to calculate ratios and sum numbers by my own hand. It is also very nice appearance-wise and makes reviewing information so much easier.    

Photo by Paul Frenzel on Unsplash

But when it comes to having access to a seemingly infinite (perhaps it is infinite) amount of information at my fingertips, there comes costs; mainly opportunity costs in the realm of unproductive time spent using technology.  

 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with hopping on social media to check on the latest and greatest updates from your news feed.  However, I have found that it is too easy to take a quick ‘break’ that turns into 10, 20, 30 minutes of viewing posts and profiles.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Or take for instance instant communications.  I currently have up Skype with two conversations going, google voice for texting, WhatsApp for communicating, and Twitter with a few active DMs going.  WOW.

Most of this instant communication is great and I really enjoy being able to talk to anyone in the world at any time.  But I see how easy it is to get lost in this communication and lose sight of why I have all this going in the first place.  


This is technology creep and unless managed in an appropriate manner, it can hamper productivity and stop a business dead in its tracks.

 

How Much Can Technology Creep Affect Your Daily Life

Let’s crunch the numbers.  

The average person spends 1 hour and 40 minutes on social media per day We’ll round up to 2 hours for the sake of easy math.



See the simple math here:

 

Social Media Analysis (SM)
Hours Watching SM/day 2
Working Days/Year* 261
Total Hours SM/Year 522
Side Hustle per hr rate $15 /hr
Total Income $7,830
*https://hr.uiowa.edu/payroll/2015-fiscal-year-payroll-calendar

 

So let’s say that we choose to invest that extra $7,830 in ADM at the current stock price of $46.70 (7/6/18).  Here are the results:

 

Dividend Return Analysis
Amount Invested $7,830.00
Share Cost $46.70
Shares Purchased 167.7
Dividend/Share $0.34
Yearly Payout $1.34
Dividends/Yr. $224.67
Div % yield 2.87%

 

On a side note, notice that the amount of dividends per year is not that much in the beginning when compared to the 1.6% interest but note that this will grow exponentially and have a snowball effect if you set it on the DRIP model.  That is a more complex calculation which we’ll leave off for now but basically you would be buying an extra 5 shares per year of ADM! The power of DRIP and compounding interest is truly amazing.

 

All of this is to show that there are many things we can do when we kick bad, unproductive habits such as too much time on technologies and focus on building a side hustle.  

 

 

How To Effectively Reduce Technology Creep

So how do I currently combat technology creep?  I’m finding that out on a daily basis. But thus far here are some suggestions that I’ve undertaken for combating the technology creep  in my own life.

  1. Know what you do best.

    Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

    Outsource the rest. I have found that my core competencies are what I NEED to be spending 80% of my time on (the 80/20 rule).  The rest can be removed from my task list. So what have I identified as my core competencies? Writing, Investing, and Building Systems.  Those I will keep in wheelhouse. I am working toward outsourcing everything else.

  2. Start your day off with a plan of action.

    Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

    I find that the days when I set up and follow through on a plan are my best days.  Planning doesn’t have to be anything complex or off the wall. I simply plan for 5-10 minutes on the top things that I want to do for that day.  I will put in my core competencies – writing, investing, and building my systems (businesses) as priorities. After this, I will then review everything else to see what can be outsourced or eliminated.  Good planning is not only what you choose to do but also what you choose not to do.

  3. Schedule block time.

    Photo by webandi on Pixabay

    This is something I am getting better at – working for uninterrupted periods of time on a certain task. However, this way of working is very counter-intuitive to me and how I have worked in the past. Much of my success in the working world has come about through prompt service with my response time being right away or in less than 10 minutes.  I do not want to lose that mindset as I believe it is highly valuable but I am working to find that fine line to being responsive yet allowing myself uninterrupted time to work my creative processes.

  4. Turn off your phone/sites/communications for certain time periods.

    Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

    This is something where technology gets me. I have arranged my life where I am ‘always on’.  I say this because even if my phone is off, I can answer calls on my tablet, through Amazon Alexa or even my computer.  Also text from my computer, so turning off my phone only does so much. I see here that the key for me is being more mindful around my communication habits.  Even though I like having a nearly instantaneous response time, I am coming to value my uninterrupted creative time. I am learning that I am not pavlov’s dog; when I hear that chime or buzz, I do not need to respond right away.  I can find the internal balance within.

  5. Learn Daily.

    Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

    A big lesson that I remind myself of on a daily basis is that life is not a sprint, it is a steady race.  I am working to enjoy the process more and more each day. This begins with mindfulness, connecting to the world around me. One of my goals is to have one tech-free day per week whereby I do not open my computer but rather pick up a good book, spend time with friends, and enjoy more exercise.  

    Speaking of good books, I highly recommend Dune by Frank Herbert.

 

I know there are good apps out there too (Rescue time, etc.) but I personally do not use those as I like to de-clutter all aspects of my life as much as possible.  “Keep it Simple” is my personal motto.

 

How do you do with technology creep?  Are there strategies you use that I haven’t listed on here?  Let’s have a conversation.

 

Until next time, Stay Mindful.  

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Disclaimer: (1) All the information above is not a recommendation for or against any investment vehicle or money management strategy.  It should not be construed as advice and each individual that invests needs to take up any decision with the utmost care and diligence.  Please seek the advice of a competent business professional before making any financial decision.

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2 Comments

  1. Mohammed on October 19, 2018 at 1:17 am

    Well written blog Matt!!

    I like the idea of a day without gadgets.

    I tend to switch off during certain tasks such as reading a book or meeting a friend, or visiting the gym. That behaviour has become normal for me as i’ve done it regularly for years.

    • Matt Ramey on October 20, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Totally agree. I love tech and it is easier for me to spend a day glued to the comp whether it be writing, investing, web design, etc. I don’t believe I’ve ever regretted leaving the comp be and grabbing a coffee/beer with a friend though!

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