Don’t get me wrong – I love technology. I love the way in which I’m able to find any information I need at the click of a few buttons, or in a few finger swipes. I love how I can talk or video chat family or friends at the other side of the world as though they are right here in my living room. I love that I can solicit assistance from freelancers in other countries to apply their expertise to projects I’m working on. I also love how technology has enabled me to start my own lifestyle business by creating beautiful, functional websites that enable my clients to build their businesses. Best of all, I get to do this from the comfort of my home. I don’t have to drive to an office or answer to a boss. Without technology, this would not have been possible.
But what gets to me, often, is the way in which technology sucks us into developing bad habits. I don’t like the way in which we have become dependent on technology to the extent that it is impacting on our relationships and meaningful interactions.
According to Selligent, more than two-thirds of people respond to work emails in the evenings or over the weekends, while nearly half of all people spend time during appointments or in the company of friends and family answering emails, text messages, and checking every notification they receive (no matter what they are doing). 57.4% of people NEVER switch their phones off, while a third goes as far as checking their email in the middle of the night. Yet, 46.9% of people receive so much email that they are unable to answer every single message, and 41.4% feel that they are missing out on important news.
Our children are becoming slaves to technology from a younger age too, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is causing them to miss out on what’s really important – moments with family. Some of my friends have had to institute measures to minimize the amount of time their teenagers spend on technology, because they would be scrolling through social media sites during meal times and respond to messages on chat apps while having conversations with family. This can’t be healthy for their development.
How Do We Stop the Information Madness?
I feel that discussing possibilities is an important part of developing life skills and building relationships. When we are looking for information online without taking the time to discuss things with one another, we are actually following other people’s opinions and agendas instead of forming our own.
It is time to take back our minds, our time, and our families and that starts with us setting the right example. Here’s how:
- Create technology free zones or times in your home. Ban phones and tablets during meal times, family discussions, or movies.
- Keep your computer in your home office and reserve it for business purposes only. When you leave the office, close the door and stay out.
- Focus on productive tasks that earn money. Whenever you are wasting time scrolling through your Facebook feed, you are taking time away from your family.
- Be flexible. Of course you want to mess around surfing the web from time to time. Do so with the help of a timer. Set aside half hour and when the timer sounds, stop.
- Separate your personal social media from your business social media, and don’t socialize online during work hours.
- Bookmark blog posts or videos you come across and watch them when you are least productive, instead of right away.
- Schedule breaks away from the computer.
- Remove clutter from your physical and virtual space, as you are less likely to get into browsing mode when everything is clean and well-organized.
- GET OUTSIDE! Leave your phone at home and immerse yourself in nature.
Do you have any more ideas on how to handle information overload, or how to teach your kids to have valuable, interactive experiences away from technology? Please do share in comments below!