Ever noticed how our life is being made so much easier through 21st century developments? Our lives are full of mobile phones, digital cameras, iPods, computers & laptops, scanners, websites, internet banking and so the list goes on and on.

My personal theory is much different. I think it does exactly the opposite. Let’s look at a few of them:

Digital Cameras: gone are the days where you would snap away until your film was full (24 or 36 pictures). You’d remove the film, pop into your nearest Boots or other 1-hour development facility, hand the film in, then go and have a cofffee or lunch nearby where you wait for your pictures. How relaxing is that? No, what do we do now? We take 100 or 200 snaps (because we can) on our digital camera. At this point we think, “gosh, got to download those when I have a minute”, and when you have a minute you start running around looking for cables, card readers and whatever other equipment you might need.
The actual downloading doesn’t take to long, but then you realise you have to rotate half the pictures before you can view them propertly, unless of course if you want to tilt your head at every second picture. That takes longer than you imagined.
Next is deciding what pictures you want to print (if you could be bothered at all). This is when you realise you don’t have the appropriate sized photo paper for your printer. This either means a trip to the shops, or you return to the “I-just-can’t-be-bothered” idea you had in the first place.
Ah! Brilliant idea, you can upload your pictures to a website online, they’ll print them and post them back to you! You promptly start uploading your pictures one-by-one and realise that in spite of your 8MB download speed, the upload speed seems nothing like it. Half way through your uploads, their server goes down. It is at this point that your blood pressure starts rising and that “now-I-really-just-can’t-be-bothered” feeling washes over you. “Sod it! I’ll do it later …” Later? When exactly is later?

iPods. Now wasn’t that a cool invention? Tiny little piece of kit that you can put your entire record or CD collection onto. All you have to do is transfer all your CDs onto it. And you have how many CDs? Did I hear your say 100? 200? I wonder how long that will take? And then you can download your new music directly from the internet. What about if you lose this little piece of kit? No, no, you just ensure that it is backed up onto your computer or laptop. Ah, so not only do I have to transfer all my music onto it, add to it, I also have to remember to back it up periodically in case of losing this very little 40 mm x 90 mm x 7 mm MP3 player. And you wonder why I haven’t taken the plunge yet?
And then my favourite one: internet banking. What a life changing development that was! You have access to your funds 24/7. You can pay any account any time, you can check balances, you can move money from account to account, you can download your bank statements, you can set up direct debits, you can invest your money, you can borrow more money. Notice a trend here? I said YOU can do it all! Gone are the days you could go into the bank and speak to a real person, have them give you relevant information, get their opinions about what to do with your money, draw money across the counter and they go away and do what you asked. Sorry, of course you could do this, but they will charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege. They have just managed to reduce their overheads, reduce their staff, because effectively, you’re doing what they’re supposed to do for them, you’re working for them now ….
I could run through each and ever other item on the list, but the list just goes on and on. And we wonder why our lives are so busy. I read that the average person in the UK watches 25 hours of television per week, the average American watches 28 hours! No wonder we are so busy – between watching television using all these other devices that make our lives easier we have no time left for other things. What has disappeared from our lives: cooking from scratch, hobbies, reading, spending time with others, games, exercise … and so the list goes on and on.

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Yes, Tim and I have taken a decision to watch less television. And when we do watch, we don’t just switch the telly on and watch whatever rubbish is on. We choose our programmes. And when there is nothing on we want to see, we turn it off. All of a sudden we have so much more time to do things. It’s great. I challenge you to try it.