An incident this week brought home to me, and many of my colleagues, just how dependant we have become on technology. One day this week, our Administrator turned on her computer to start work for the day and it launched into a ‘Windows Update’ screen. This is not unheard of, but after 50 minutes of waiting for the update to complete we realised that something wasn’t quite right. A quick call to our IT Department informed us that the update was being pushed out from ‘higher up’ but should be done soon. Frustrating, but at least it was only her computer affected, and there were others she could access to complete her electronic tasks.
Moments later my computer started updating, next my husband’s, and then all other computers on our small network. We all had plenty of other work to set our hands to and so set to achieving these tasks. As we returned to our desks some time later we found that all of the computers were still updating. The IT Department now had a recorded message on it’s voicemail alerting us to the fact that it was a large process that might take longer than we were used to. Facebook statuses from colleagues around the country told me that everyone was affected, and one of my friends was now up to 21 hours waiting for this update to complete!
What I found most frustrating is that I had some time-critical work that needed to be submitted that was all computer dependant, and there was not one thing I could do about it. Every time I came up with another task to keep me occupied I realised that I needed my computer to do it. Order some books? Needed the computer. Prepare the church service? Needed the computer. Work on the church newsletter? Computer. Respond to emails with information from the network? Computer. While there were some tasks I could start, it inevitably could not be completed because of no access to my computer.
In the end, the update was still trying to install 26 hours later, the IT Department modified their message to instruct us on how to interrupt the update and then sent out an email highlighting some relevant information to help. (I still think that it’s hilarious they sent an email, which you need a functioning computer to read!!)
So what is my lesson from this episode? In my profession I have long held the belief that I need to focus on ‘People’ over ‘Paper’, and yet I hadn’t quite realised how much physical paper has now been replaced by virtual paper in time absorption. I haven’t completed my time critical tasks, with good reason, and the world has not imploded. I need to be the master of the technology tools rather than allowing the tools to master me.
In all of this how does God feature? I thank Him for this timely reminder to refocus on what really is important and vital in my day. I hope it can do the same for you too.