This post is part of a series focusing on Time Management for Teens, Students, and High Schoolers. Get the complete online course here or order the book here!

Does Modern Technology Help Or Hurt High School Time Management?

Technology: the ultimate double-edged sword of high school time management.

It can help, it can hurt, and everything in between.

There’s a fine line between “falling behind the curve” like a dinosaur (think of your parent’s generation).. and “over-dependence on technology,” which will distract you from your work with ultimately meaningless entertainment.

Modern technology has led to some of the most addictive and distracting media, games, and simulations ever created in human history.

It’s absolutely no exaggeration to say that it is harder to focus today than it has EVER been in history. Although you may have been BORN into this situation, that doesn’t make it any less distracting.

Let’s talk about the strengths and weaknesses of technology for high school time-management and a few specific ways you can use technology to help you instead of hurt you.

Positives Of Technology For Time Management

I like to see the positive in things, so let’s start off with a list of POSITIVES for technology and high school time management that I came up with.

It helps improve our organization with apps and calendars like the excellent and free Google Calendar.

These same apps can provide us with helpful automatic reminders and alarms, as well as maintain ongoing task lists or to-do lists for us - and a computer never forgets.

Automatic reminders are hardly the only beneficial use of computers and phones.

Flashcard apps offer a fast and convenient backup plan to handmade flashcards

And although I’m 100% in favor of the handmade version of flashcards, I also think IF you do BOTH handmade and digital flashcards you are going to dominate whatever SAT vocabulary, foreign language, or other info you are studying.

Uses of Technology For Time Management In High School

There are plenty of other good uses for all this technology in high school.

You can use simple countdown timers on your phone or watch, to organize your time into blocks that fit your schedule and energy levels.

You can use free note-taking apps to quickly jot down ideas or important info, that is saved into the cloud so that you can access and edit it later from your laptop, phone, or tablet - no matter what device you originally created the notes on.

Word processing programs save us HOURS of time on hand-writing, editing, saving, revisions, spelling and grammar checking, printing, and sharing by email.

Email also offers us near-instant 24/7 communication with a permanent searchable record of everything you’ve ever talked about.

And in terms of communications technology, I’m probably just scratching the surface of what we’ll see in the next few years… but that’s not all…

Use Digital Cameras And YouTube To Your Advantage

Digital cameras have become INCREDIBLY inexpensive, tiny, and high-quality.

So, you probably have access to at LEAST one extremely powerful video camera in your life for personal and artistic projects…

That means student-photographers, musicians, movie makers, dancers, models, and actors have an INFINITELY easier time sharing their work with the world.

I’m not even beginning to talk about how the internet gives you a potential audience of BILLIONS of people that, just 10 or 20 years ago was completely unimaginable.

Talk about a time hack!

I mean, love him or hate him, one of the world’s most famous celebrities, Justin Bieber, was discovered via a YouTube video - and in a few short years he became one of the wealthiest and most famous pop stars on the planet.

The Internet Is An Infinite Free Library For Teens

My point being: how could YOU live an epic life… simply by leveraging and using freely available modern technology like great, cheap audio/video equipment…

Plus the millions and billions of people on the internet who are absolutely STARVING for new daily content and entertainment that YOU could create in some of your free time.

We all have free access to YouTube which, I know I don’t need to tell you, is a pretty incredibly place for free video, and offers a thousand lifetimes worth of entertainment and shared knowledge.

Speaking of free access, we also have Google, Wikipedia, IMDB for movies, Genius for song lyrics… an infinite public library online, with instant access to almost the entirety of human knowledge.

Someday soon we may have self-driving cars so you can study while you’re taking yourself to school!

Downsides Of Technology For Time Management

But, technology isn’t just some perfect solution that makes high school super easy, now is it?

Let’s get into some of the unfortunate downsides of technology that you absolutely must watch out for in high school, because none of us are immune to them.

We are all vulnerable to different dangers, so these are in NO particular order.

Take notes as we go and decide which risks apply most to YOU:

First, technology can be time-wasting. You lose track of how quickly time disappears because of ADDICTIVE designs in the software and systems.

Two, technology is ever-present in high school and that’s one of the main reasons it’s so distracting - you literally have to make an on-purpose effort to AVOID technology, even temporarily.

Third, overuse of technology and social media can cause anxiety in some people, or other forms of low-level emotional disturbance and tension.

Fourth, there are also physical dangers: you can easily injure your wrist, hand and eyes from long-term keyboard and computer use.

Fifth, technology can have a social cost. The more fun the games, the less time for face-to-face communication and friendship.

Also, there’s a very real health cost - your web surfing, gaming, and social media eat up time for sleep, exercise and going outside.

And, my seventh downside of technology is that it also can encourage unhealthy habits and diets because you want fast, convenient food so you can keep gaming or surfing.

Like I said, these are in NO particular order but just a list of risks I put together that I thought were really important, from observing myself, my friends and family, and other high school students like yourself.

Social Media Has Its Own Risks For High Schoolers

I also think SOCIAL MEDIA deserves its own special mention…

Although Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites are extremely powerful and awesome in their own way…

They are also the epitome of the time-wasting, anxiety-creating DOWNSIDES of modern technology for many high schoolers like yourself.

Facebook and other social sites are designed and engineered by some of the most brilliant minds on the planet to hold your attention with content from your friends, and sharing with your peer group.

The instant messaging capabilities of these platforms may be cool and fun…

But make no mistake, they are essentially a PLOT to capture and hold your attention, so that a company can make advertising money from your time and attention.

Social Media Is A Form Of Mind-Control!

I mean it when I say that social media is a form of mind-control for corporate profit!

There are billions of dollars on the line, and teams of geniuses working round the clock on this from every corner of the world.

I know that’s almost hard to even IMAGINE, but as crazy as it is, it’s the honest truth.

Basically, genius billionaires are trying to mind-control your attention from an early age, so that they can continue to suck dollars out of the brains of you (and your friends and families) via social media for the rest of your life.

I know it sounds kind of crazy when I put it like that…

But, I’m an entrepreneur and businessman myself, and I’ve spent a lot of time studying social media design, and thinking about why it works so darn well.

Be Cautious When Using Social Media In High School

I’m not saying don’t use social media completely….

But I am warning you to be very cautious about the amount of time you spend on it, as well as how seriously you take it, because comparing our lives to social media lives is absolutely horrible for your self-esteem and confidence.

Remember that most high schoolers ONLY show the highlights and best moments of their lives on social sharing, and would be absolutely horrified at the idea of sharing anything embarrassing on social media that put them in a BAD light.

Nevertheless, we are all human and all making mistakes….

We’re all experiencing trials and difficulties and frustrations every day, but it’s only natural to put on a good face and try and impress the people around us so that we gain respect and status.

The problem is social media puts this on an infinite loop, 24/7, and it’s causing a ton of anxiety, depression, and tension for high schoolers…

Purely because we’re all comparing ourselves to each other every time we log onto our smartphones and laptops, and we get HIT with a dose of social media, whether we really need that at the moment or not.

Reduce Your Use Of Social Media In High School

So, consider reducing your access and connection to social media, without completely cutting the cord.

First, this may require documenting how much time you spend on social media each week…

Then you can start reducing that time bit by bit - or just go cold-turkey like me, and quit completely, just to see how it feels!

I’ve done this myself and I don’t regret it for a moment. My mind is clearer, my concentration is sharper, and I don’t compare myself to others as often. I just feel better the less time I spend on Facebook.

Or, perhaps you can choose very specific times each day or each week to check social media and spend some time on it, but avoid using it other than those proscribed times.

Or, set a countdown timer to limit the stretch of time you spend on social media…

But please, implement  something to prevent the ever-present social media monster from eating you alive in high school.

Always remember, don’t let the “highlight reels” of everyone else’s life cover up the fact that no one publishes the BAD stuff, the PAINFUL stuff or the EMBARRASSING stuff that they’re going through.

You are more than the sum of your social media presence.

Don’t Become Over-Dependent On Technology

Also, beware of overcomplicating and over-dependence on technology in high school.

For example, when you can’t find your way home from school anymore because you depend on the GPS in your car…

Or, you lose your cell phone and life grinds to a halt because EVERYTHING you need is there (with no backups) from you calendar to your contacts and homework.

Never underestimate the power of simple methods.

Think about it this way: humanity made it all the way from CAVES to CITIES, mostly without any computers except for the last 60 years or so.

We didn’t need computers or social media or smartphones or the internet to make it this far. Those things have only shown up in like the last 1% of history.

Pencil and paper (and your own memory) are still just as important as ever - perhaps even MORE important since they give you an edge over everyone who is just expecting to depend on technology.

Technology should ENHANCE your skills, not REPLACE them. Never become overdependent on it.

Technology Is A Two-Sided Sword For Time Management

You can’t have the good without the bad…

For example, the power of the cell phone’s instant connection, also carries the risk of permanent connection to time-wasting social media and games in the app store.

Your connection also becomes a distraction.

EVERYONE has different “danger zones” with tech - it could be Facebook and friends, video games, music and media, or TV shows and YouTube.

For me the cell phone isn’t that big a deal to worry about, but computer games certainly can be. A great computer game is just so addictive to me, and time will fly by before I realize how long I’ve been playing.

For you, the biggest time-waster is probably something different.

We all have different potential time wasters and we ALL have different ways to enhance our abilities and cover our weaknesses by using technology to help us.

So plan out your personal strengths and risk factors in advance (and always follow the top 3 rules of good time management), and you’ll remain more in-control of the overwhelming technological landscape than your peers and competition.

Track And Reflect On Your Technology Usage

As always, daily personal journaling helps me reflect on my use of technology.

You can try journaling on this during the middle of the day, at the end of the day, or after any time you spend using your cell phone or computer.

There are even FREE APPS available to help you track your wasted time!

For example, I have an app on my laptop and cell phone that knows which programs are “productive” and which are “time-wasters.”

For example, it monitors my use of movie players and video games, as well as social media.

On the flip side, my hours in the word processor spent writing this article would register as “productive” time tracked by the app.

At the end of each week, I get an automatic email giving me a breakdown of what I spend my computer and cell phone time on and I can get a more accurate judgement of my REAL productivity level.

Unfortunately, many weeks I find out that I was MORE distracted than I thought I was - but the feedback is helping me get better at controlling the distractions.

I suggest trying a similar tracking app for yourself and hope you will have a similar experience as you learn to bend technology to help YOU, rather than the other way around!

Review Of Technology And Time Management

Here’s a quick review and a few conclusions to the topic of technology and high school time management:

  • Technology is a powerful double-edged sword whose full effects, risks, and potential are still being discovered.
  • As a high schooler, you should focus first and foremost on your REAL-LIFE skills and knowledge. You don’t need that much high-tech stuff in your life to be a VERY effective student.
  • Know the strengths of modern technology. Be the type of person who has sat down and thought about how it will help you.
  • Know the DANGERS and personal risk factors of technology. Identify your key weaknesses when it comes to getting distracted, wasting time, or becoming overdependent on it.
  • Never let social media overwhelm you. Never waste energy comparing your REAL life to the FRAUDULENT social media lives of others.
  • And, find and use a really good free calendar program AND a really good time-tracking app that works across all your computers and devices.

The Final Word On Technology For High Schoolers

My final word is, keep your uses of technology in high school limited to a few key areas where it enhances more than it hurts.

You’ll have time to mess with gadgets and software all your life and it’s ONLY going to get better as we grow up.

So, enjoy being young, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy your friends and family.

Learn to solve problems on your own and not depend on a computer, calculator, or GPS unit for help.

That way, you can always stand on your own two feet and you’ll have more self-control than about 90% of the modern world.

Then when you WANT it, the technology will be there - but you won’t NEED it.

Did I Raise Fair Points About Technology and Time Management For High Schoolers?

Do YOU think I’ve brought up some fair points about the strengths and weaknesses of technology?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

This topics is something I’m really interested in because I want all my students to be on the cutting edge but also stay happy and focused.

So, before you go on to the next article, please pause and write a quick note to me in the comments section.

Tell me if you think technology is more helpful or more hurtful for studying, and where you think it will all go in the future!

It’s an open-ended question because I want you to respond any way that occurs to you.

To tell the truth, I’m a little bit intimidated by how fast technology changes, so that’s why I’d love some open-ended thoughts from my students on it - since I know younger folks love to stay current on this stuff.

Let me know your thoughts and I’ll see you in the next article!

Make this year your most productive year ever! Get the complete Time Management for Teens Online Course or order the book on Amazon today.

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