We are wired for connectivity as human beings – but do we really need to be connected 24-7?! Many would argue that personal technology devices such as smart phones allow us to connect with many more people much more efficiently. But does it really? Is a one way message through text really connecting?
Over 75 % of Americans own smart phones, a number that has been increasing each year. I have only had one for less than two years – this business was the impetus for getting one. I resisted for a long time because I was afraid of how much time I would spend on it – afraid some of that would be wasted. And I was right! Studies show we spend the equivalent of approximately 38 days each year checking our cell phone (picking it up, checking for messages, answering). That is more than a month of our year! And imagine the time spent for those that have more than one – a phone for personal use as well as one for work!
One reason so many use a smart phone is that it allows us to check email and other messages while traveling or away from work with the idea that can make us more productive…but does it really? Research finds that having your phone on your desk, in front of you – even if face down and silenced – makes you less productive. (Coach Glitz and I are both guilty of this when working together on Uninhibited Wellness programs!) We anticipate receiving a message when the phone is in close proximity and develop habits of looking for them. Now we even have smart watches that will prod us with each new message that comes through!
We need to take some time to disconnect from the devices and really connect with ourselves and others. Take a walk and leave the phone behind, move the phone to another room when having dinner with the family, don’t check devices when you are in the presence of those you care about, keep it in airplane mode when on vacation (so you can still take photos), and remove devices from the bedroom when you sleep. Being occasionally “disconnected” will allow for better focus, a higher flow of creativity and increased productivity with whatever you are doing! This is the topic of the book, The Future of Happiness, by Amy Blankson, an expert on the connection between positive psychology and technology. She also offers some ideas to more effectively use and not use our devices. We’re not asking you to give these things up – we’re just suggesting that you regularly take a break from them.
Find what works for you to take some time away from your gadgets. Remember, it’s really only been 10 years that we have had smart phones (Apple is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone this year). If you need some tips that can work with your schedule, contact us, and we will help you find practices that suit you!