Why in the World Is Technology So Stressful?

The Jetson family wave as they fly past buildings in space in their spaceship in a still from the animated television series,
The Jetson family wave as they fly past buildings in space in their spaceship in a still from the animated television series, 'The Jetsons,' circa 1962. (Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's a bright and sunny Monday morning. George Jetson is calmly brought up from a good night's sleep by an electronic alarm, which activates a series of gadgets that transform him from pajamas into his work clothes. Rosie, his robotic maid, welcomes him to the breakfast table, as a machine pulls a completed meal from a slot in the wall. After breakfast, he hops into his flying car which whizzes him away to his job.

This is what I envision every time I think of technology: the art of making life easier, gentler, more repeatable, and less stressful. So why is it, in today's hustle and bustle world, are we all so damn stressed?

Consider the beginnings of technology -- when cavemen roamed the earth, looking for something to eat and a way to survive. They employed tools -- rocks and sticks, spears and hammers -- to make their tasks easier. This invariably reduced the stress of getting things done. It also made life seem easier than it actually was. Therein lies the problem.

Because technology has the appearance of "simpler and easier," we find ourselves constantly trying to keep up with what's going on. We have in fact forced ourselves to multitask, because every gadget, app, update, feed, post and login screen adds more and more tasks to our plates. We are busy keeping up with our own devices and programs, which, strangely enough, were meant to allow us to do less. Instead, we are doing more and it's slowly complicating our lives.

The paradigm of technology needs to shift away from "doing more with less." Life needs to be less convoluted and more predictable. After all, we are not all multitaskers, and we are not Swiss Army knives. Life should not be a list consecutive tasks. We are not machines, nor are we supposed to be.

A new age of technology will soon force itself into our collective minds. An age of technology that helps us to manage our lives and reconnect to fellow human beings, without the deluge of app downloads, program updates, and device upgrades. Life itself needs to feel simpler again, and tech is slowly taking us in the wrong direction.

If George saw how complicated our lives are today, he would be flabbergasted. We ought to be spending more time talking to each other, not staring at our smartphone screens, busy with updates.

Ask your how you manage technology. And while you're at it, think about whether it makes your life easier, or more complicated -- because it shouldn't be...