With more and more labour saving devices becoming available every day, do they really make our lives easier and happier or are we driving ourselves crazy trying to do everything too perfectly? Not only do we have to try and balance the pressures of work and lifestyle but now the media tells us that our home and garden are expected to look like a show home- all of the time.
Compare this to the homes that we grew up in as children and you will begin to realise that standards have indeed changed with the introduction of so many labour saving devices. But is this really a change for the better?
Has time become less valuable?
With remote controls that can operate all electrical items in the house, robotic vacuum cleaners that get the fluff out from under the beds and iPhones that can control lights and alarms when we are miles away from home, are we really no longer slaves to the home? Or are we just busy fools?
I remember wash day being just one day a week, purely because it was so labour intensive and tiring. With a twin-tub washing machine to struggle with, no microwave and certainly no dishwasher, household chores were indeed a chore! Nowadays even these basic chores are certainly easier and provide us with more time. But what do we do with those extra hours?
Do we really need these labour saving devices?
Do we spend so many hours trying to maintain our living environment to an impossibly high standard that our free time is dissipated or do we have so many high-tech labour saving devices that free time actually turns into gadget time? Do you save hours on chores and then spend the time saved in front of the computer or games console?
If we ask ourselves the question, “Do we really need all this new stuff?” why does the answer always have to be Yes? Items may be marketed as being energy-efficient and time-saving but do we have to have LED lights that change colour at the flick of a button or a TV with so many channels that we cannot possibly watch them all, let alone know which ones we have!
Has leisure time become pressure time?
Gone are the days when you would work hard in the home or garden, balancing it with an occupation to earn money and then really look forward to your leisure time with longing. That spare time was spent mainly out of doors, soaking up the countryside, maybe taking a day trip to the sea-side or playing outside with the children.
Now much of that quality time has been converted into more time spent in the house, working constantly to keep it looking pristine and leisure time has vastly decreased in quality, with much of it being soaked up by computer gadgets.
Is life becoming too easy?
In addition, less manual chores means that we don’t work off the calories naturally as we used to do. Now to burn the calories, we have to work out in an exercise class, go to the gym or run a mile a day. Some would say that our diet has also suffered.
We have more cooking gadgets at our disposal, yet figures suggest that we are doing less cooking from scratch. The overwhelming choices at the supermarket actually result in us eating more convenience food.
Turn the clock back 50 years or so and I am pretty sure we would have been a lot healthier both physically and mentally.
To many, the introduction of so many labour saving devices may seem counterproductive. We should beware of how much status we give to these gadgets when it comes to taking over our lives, both at home and work. A balance in everything is always the key to a healthy mind and body. Maybe keeping things simple is the recipe for a long and happy life after all.