Here is the next set of questions (following on from previous posts which have raised questions about teaching with technology – for me teaching with technology means teaching online).
How has your daily routine changed? What changes have you had to make to how you organise and manage your time?
I have to say that I hate routine and resist it as much as I can! So I prefer to think about how the patterns of my work have changed rather than the routines. This question is a little difficult to answer objectively as my work now is almost entirely online – I read online, I write online, I have meetings online, I attend conferences online, I research online and I socialise online. I don’t think I would be this much online if I wasn’t working as an independent consultant.
I chose to work independently because I knew that I could maintain my contacts and work through the affordances of technology. I could not do what I am doing now without technology.
So do I have any routines? Not many – but I do check my email consistently throughout the day – unless I am travelling or on holiday. I haven’t yet succumbed to being accessible wherever I am and whatever I am doing and despite my love of working online, I hate phones, both landline and mobile. I’m in the dark ages as far as mobile phones go, although I do possess one – for emergencies! I also check my social networking sites and RSS feeds most days – so I suppose these are almost daily routines.
I think technology has had more effect on how I organise and manage my time than on my daily routines. I am probably at my laptop for at least 8 hours each day and so I am very conscious of the sedentary nature of this existence. As such I make sure that I go to the gym at least twice a week and get out for walks as much as possible. Because my work is online – the eight hours don’t have to be consecutive – I can work at any time in the 24 hour cycle and if I work between 4.00 and 8.00 in the morning, then I can take some time out during the day! So technology offers me a lot of flexibility and freedom in organising my time.
I have to be quite disciplined about managing my time to avoid procrastination – it’s very easy to go off task when online – and I have to be even more disciplined (as mentioned above) about taking regular breaks and making sure I am sitting correctly, maintaining a healthy diet, keeping my fluid intake up etc.
So I suppose the main change for me in relation to daily routines is that I no longer have a work/life balance issue, unlike when I worked for an institution. I am in control of how much I work, when I work and where I work and the boundaries between leisure and work are much more blurred as some of the things that I really enjoy – such as digital photography – require technology and can be used in my work.
It’s interesting attempting to answer these questions as it is becoming increasingly evident that the answers to them are very context dependent. My working context is quite specific. Although I work with post-graduate students, my days working from home 100% online and my uses of technology are, I know, very different from how I used to use technology when working face-to-face. But I do like the flexibility that technology offers me.