Do you ever feel like a slave to your technology? I wake up in the morning and check my email on my iPad and when I have time I check into Facebook as well. I get to work and sign in to my email account, my google calendar, Dropbox, and my work WordPress account. I am chained to my email most of the day as my primary responsibilities include an incredible amount of paperwork and digital communication. When I sign off for the day (@ 17:00) I head home. In the transition between work and home if I get stuck and need to communicate I have my iPhone. I make dinner and make sure my children stay on track as they get their chores/ etc. completed. When I sign back into my email at 18:30 or so there are somewhere between 15 and 30 new emails for me to contend with. I then remain off and on my laptop and my iPad until bedtime. In fact, the last thing I look at before I go to sleep is my iPad (granted, at that point I am reading a novel on it).
It is clear that I am handcuffed to my technology, what is unclear is what I am going to do about it. I need to be connected, mostly for work. Most of the families I work with know that I will work to answer their email questions in a timely fashion, often from home at night. My partner accuses me of socializing with all of my “imaginary friends” on Facebook. (It is true, with my busy work schedule it is far easier for me to socialize on Facebook than in person – pathetic – UNBELIEVABLY PATHETIC, but true.)
15 months ago our family took a cruise – ironically on the Costa Concordia (RIP CC). During that week on the ship the internet costs were so exorbitant that we did not use it. In fact, we went almost 10 days with no internet access whatsoever. It was the first time in over 10, YES 10 years that I have gone more than a few days without being connected. What a thrill and pleasure it was. How FREEING it was! Perhaps the key to dealing with our over dependence on technology is finding ways to take a break from it all. Perhaps this break is an hour a day, a day a week, or even a few days once a month. I realize this is easier for some people than others. For those who do struggle to disconnect, you will find new ways to fill your time (ironically, most of these “new” things are what we all used to do before we were so technology dependent!)
Take a moment to disconnect and discover new “old” pleasures.
On this day, 354 days ’til 40, I hope to find ways to disengage from all of my gadgets and re-engage with the simple pleasures of life.
March 4, 2012 at 19:59
Great blog. I try and take a full day a week where I’m not on my PC or crawling through my inbox trolling for work and such. It’s a very liberating experience. I took a vacation to Costa Rica a few years ago and the part of the country I was in only had 56K modems at the time. I had a similar (and very liberating) experience going a week without any real technology at my fingertips!
March 4, 2012 at 22:22
Thank you, Mike. It sounds like your experience was as freeing as mine. Unfortunately, it was short-lived and when I hit reality back home I was not as diligent as I would like to be – I am going to work harder at it!
March 4, 2012 at 21:10
Great post! How true it is that we can easily become slaves to technology if we are not careful an intentional about how we control the use of it in our lives. My work surrounds technology and I am so appreciate of a wife and kids that care enough to help me keep the boundaries around its use in my life. I take a tech-free day once a week and I can attest to how freeing it is. Whatever your level of technology interaction is, it’s always good to take a break from it. “There’s power in the pause”.
March 4, 2012 at 22:23
Thanks, Bryan. I agree with you completely and I admire that you have carved a tech free day out of your life each week – I am sure it is very liberating – when I have the strength to do so, I feel so free! I look forward to hearing more from you.