Tips: Balancing Technology
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, March 2011
Consider the amount of time and energy you are engaged in technology. I often speak and write about living a balanced life, yet I am astounded by the apparent ease with which intrusive technology has become an accepted part of the interpersonal landscape.
Vibrating PDAs are as common on tabletops as knives and forks. It has become acceptable for couples, friends, parents, and children to interrupt each other and themselves to receive or send a text, instant message, e-mail, call, tweet or page. Yes, everyone's lives are "connected" but we need to seriously consider the effect of the technological connections on our face to face human connections.
Consider these tips next time you carry your device:
Show Consideration - Tell someone you are with, in advance, that you may need to be on a call or answer e-mails and it should take your attention for ____ minutes.
Take a Time-Out - Turn off your device at meals, when you are interacting with your children (during conversations with them, while playing board games, when helping with homework, or when on the playground). The best "moments" occur when you are REALLY available. Similarly, avoid using your device when visit someone who is not feeling well (particularly when someone is in a hospital.)
Disconnect Periodically - Inform friends, family or colleagues that you will not be checking e-mails or messages on certain days or evenings or between specific hours.
Practice - Wean yourself off of the addiction to keep checking your device every few minutes, particularly when you are with other people. Even when you think people don't notice, they usually do. The message is that whatever is going on via your device is more important than what is happening now, at this time, with these people, or on your own.
Savor Experiences - Consider what moments in your life would be like if you did not have your PDA with you. Visualize walking in nature sans technology, enjoying a yoga class without checking your e-mail as soon as you finish, savoring a meal alone or with those you love with full knowledge that you will not be interrupted. Allow your senses to guide you without the buzz, vibration, ring or ding that has so permeated our lives.
Turn the device off. Then you will be fully present.