The world has changed.
It was not long ago that cell phones, iPads, and computers did not exist. I used a word processor to type papers in college. There was no world wide web, no email. If you wanted to talk to someone, your options were to sit at a big, old-fashioned telephone that was attached to a wall or send a letter you had handwritten by snail mail.
Technology is constantly moving us forward. Its intention is to make our lives more efficient, keep our businesses booming, and the world moovin’ and groovin’ even while we’re snoozin’. Technology is friggin’ amazing. But, it also has a downside.
Everyone is constantly plugged in, checking texts, emails, newsfeeds, surfing the web, updating their statuses by the minute. iPhones have become body parts. The phone has become a utensil at the dinner table, and kids text like their lives depend on it.
The more connected we are thanks to social media, the more disconnected we have become from each other.
Instead of forming real connections or having true face time, we rely on technology to do it. Sadly, I am no different. If I am not constantly connected, I feel lost. Worse still, technology creates expectations for responsiveness that are impossible for any human to keep up with.
I am fast paced. I am present. I get back to people. I give quick responses, and I expect them as well. Yet there are times when even I need to unplug. People expect answers to the texts they send at all hours of the day and night. Seriously? Have I created this norm? Do I need my phone on me in my sleep? This isn’t healthy.
I have had to approach my relationship to my electronic devices as I do my nutrition: Take in the healthy and say no to the rest.
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Here are some ways I have done that.
1. Check Your Shoes and Your Cell at the Door, Please
I have a no shoes house. When guests take their shoes off at the door, I also ask them to leave their phones there too. Hey! I invited you over to spend quality time with me. I don’t want to compete with your phone!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy control freak about it. People have emergencies and kids. My request just makes a statement that I want my friends to be present while they visit.
2. Communicate Your “No Talk Time” Policy
If you need to go off the grid, just say so. “Hey, I will be unavailable at such and such time,” or “I only respond to emails and text messages from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.” If you don’t lay down the law, you’ll have people expecting communication with you around the clock. Sometimes I feel like blowing up my phone!
It’s ok. People can handle it if you’re not always reachable.
3. Spend as Much Time with People in Person as You Do Through Technology
If you choose social media and phones over connecting in real time, you lose out on what is real. If you want to spend time with someone, spend time with them, instead of texting their brains out for hours. Get off your phones and connect in real life.
Be careful not to let social media become a hiding place. If you have something important to talk about, call. Don’t text it. Don’t spend more time on your cell than you do with your partner.
It is a good practice to unplug. Technology should enhance your life, not replace it. NEVER let it suck you into living a virtual reality devoid of human contact.
Are you a technology junkie? How often do you stay connected? Do you ever put your phone down? Will the three great tips I gave you be helpful in your tech-heavy life? I would love to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.
Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
*Image courtesy of deVos.