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Let’s use technology to take back control of our lives

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Many of us approach a new year as an opportunity to improve ourselves or to change some aspect of our lives. A common resolution is achieving work/life balance by being as efficient as possible so that we have more time to focus on the important things in life, writes Hitendra Naik, director of innovation: sub-Saharan Africa at Intel.
We’re fortunate to be living in a time when technology can make this possible. Digital has become so entrenched in our lives that it’s rare for us to be ‘disconnected’ – we wear fitness devices to the gym to monitor our workouts; gadgets on our wrists track our sleeping patterns; our smartphones have become repositories in which we store a digital replica of our lives, from photos and schedules, to banking details and communication records.
We live and breathe technology, so it makes sense to structure our goals around how we can better manage our digital lives so that we are more present in the real world.

Prioritise flexibility
Take John, for instance. A father of two, John works in the mining industry and travels a lot for business. He has a meeting at 2pm in Sandton but doesn’t want to miss his son’s first cricket match of the season, which is taking place at his school on the West Rand. A few years ago, John would have had to make a choice – attend the meeting and disappoint his son, or attend the cricket match and possibly cost his company a major business deal.
Today, John doesn’t have to decide. He can join a web meeting and share his documents with the team via his 2 in 1 laptop powered by Intel’s 6th Generation Core processor. This will free up the time he would have spent travelling between the destinations to give his son a few words of encouragement before he takes to the pitch. They can even celebrate afterwards with ice-cream because John knows he can catch up on emails later that evening when his son goes to bed.

Tech-enabled change
Change can be difficult to manage. Adapting to university life after spending five years in high school is hard enough without the added stress of moving to a different province – something Lindiwe is dealing with.
Lindiwe grew up in a quiet town in the Eastern Cape. Her excellent Matric results earned her a bursary to study statistics at a university in Johannesburg. Until now, she had been living with her parents and didn’t have to worry about things like satellite TV subscriptions and Internet costs. But with the ‘All in One’ PC her parents bought her, Lindiwe can still enjoy movies, edit photos and work on university projects.
The device has made Lindiwe’s transition to university life a lot smoother and easier to cope with, as she doesn’t feel too disconnected from life at home and can catch up with friends and family via web calling.
Each year brings with it new challenges and opportunities, as well as massive advancements in consumer technology. While it feels like technology has drastically increased the pace of life – demanding more from us each day – we should be considering how we can use these developments to our advantage – to live healthier, happier lives with more flexibility, more freedom and more control.