Technology can help or hinder you. Instead of allowing it to consume us, the use of technology with intention is a tool that can enhance your life. I love being able to go online and find instant answers to my questions. I have a smart phone, and sometimes I think it has replaced my brain. They did not name it a smart phone for nothing.
I am constantly connected. My excuse has always been that I have been so busy working multiple jobs and being a full time grad student while managing a household means that I need technology in order to have human interaction. However, the smart phone has replaced my human interaction when I find myself playing with the phone at times when there is a real, live person in front of me with whom I can have a conversation. As everyone stands around looking at their phones, the zombie apocalypse is now.
I have seen this social experiment circulating the Internet where a group of friends go out to dinner, pile their phones face down in the middle of the table, & the first person that picks up their phone in disruption of the human interaction, foots the bill for the cost of the meal. This is a brilliant idea. Too bad in this day & age, we have to force ourselves to do those type of things in order to unplug from the smart phone.
In my efforts to rewind real slow, I have decided to unplug. Cutting the cord allows me to focus fully on the people in front of me and to live and enjoy the moment I am experiencing. Are you really having fun or just doing it for the face book post, tag or photo? Cutting the cord and unplugging is not only scary for some, but also difficult. In today’s 24/7 world, the smart phone is constantly dinging with some notification of this or that. It is the modern day method of keeping up with the Jones’.
Here are some strategies in which I am going to try to cut the cord:
- Turn off notifications. Do you look at your phone every time it makes a noise? Is this taking away from having lunch with your grandmother, or appreciating that sunset? Turn off the notifications. It can wait.
- Set a timer. The internet will not explode if you stop checking it 20 times per day. 20 minutes twice a day should be enough. Once in the morning, and once in the evening to be able to check and respond to any important emails or get caught up on all the latest face book gossip. Do you really need to know what your 400 friends had for lunch today? This is adulthood, not a middle school cafeteria.
- Make plans to see people in person. In realizing that I have allowed digital communication to take over my life, I have noticed that it has replaced my human interactions. The human part of my interactions is missing, that is. I would rather spend one hour of quality time having dinner with a friend hearing about their latest trip or the cool thing their kid did than spend 5 minutes commenting on someone’s post.
I’m looking for a life full of meaning. Quality over quantity. For me starting a blog is about more quality interactions on the internet than I currently have in 140 characters on social media. While I am looking to cut the cord in favor of in person interaction, I also want to improve the quality of my online interaction as well.
What do you think? Do you have an obsession with technology? How do you set boundaries around your media use and make time for what matters most – the people in your life and the experiences you have with them?