While enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, I noticed a family of six at a nearby table. Although they were together physically, each was mesmerized with their own mobile device. No one was communicating with each other.
Is this happening to you?
The average smartphone user checks their device every six and a half minutes. That adds up to about 150 times a day!
What about in the workplace? We are connected 24/7. If it isn’t email, it’s conference calls, multiple deadlines, and constant multitasking.
In a recent Gallup article, Dan Witters and Diana Liu stated that U.S. workers who email for work and spend more time working outside the normal working day are more likely to experience substantial stress.
Technology is supposed to make life easier and give us more time for ourselves. It is up to us to control it.
My phone died a few weeks ago. While waiting for the new one to arrive, I felt almost as if I was missing a part of myself!
Slowly I began to appreciate my new freedom. I became more aware of my surroundings. I lost the frantic need to be connected. I began to wonder, was I addicted to technology?
Having worked for a global company as a remote employee for many years, I was accustomed to putting my phone on the nightstand, checking it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Without my device for a couple days, I was able to notice my bad habits more objectively and make some changes.
Based on my experience here’s what I would recommend:
First, turn off your device for a short time. Enjoy some peace and personal space without being interrupted. Actively listen to others, appreciate nature, and get some exercise.
Next, set some limits. Leave work at work. And if you manage others, become a role model to demonstrate good work habits. Many employees feel compelled to email outside of working hours because their manager has set the precedent. If you stop sending emails after working hours, they will not need to respond.
Finally, practice moderation. Make technology work for you. Use it effectively and it will give you more time to spend with those you love. I remember the days of “snail” mail and telephone booths. Technology has provided us with great tools to enjoy our lives, not to control us.
Then, when you go to lunch with family or friends, you can look them in the eye, share conversation, and take joy in that special event together.
Take back your life!