In 2016, Learn to See Technology as a Tool, Not a Tyrant
Hello, and a very happy 2016 to all of you. I’d like to use my posts during this first week of the new year to introduce a theme that I’ll be revisiting from time to time in 2016: #MindfulTech. That may sound like an odd term, but I think it’s a very important one for all of us, right now and into the ever-more-complicated future. Here’s what I mean by “Mindful Tech”.
I was looking through some very interesting research recently on the growing importance of digital devices when I came across two statistics that really grabbed me, especially when taken together. One was that, world-wide, 65% of adults agree with the statement “I feel anxiety when I am away from my devices.” But apparently, it’s not exactly a love affair with those digital devices.
The other stat that grabbed me was that nearly half of adults agree with the statement “I feel compelled to check my work e-mail in my off-hours.” And 58% of those who do agree resent that fact. Suggesting even more stress, a large majority agree that “staying on top of social media is starting to feel like a full-time job.”
Certainly technology is adding a greater sense of 24/7/365 connectedness and introducing new capabilities. But it appears to be bringing with it an imposing presence. How do we take advantage of the best parts of new technologies without suffering any ill effects? How can we make sure the technology does things for us, but without doing things to us? We simply have to be mindful about it. That’s the secret, and that’s what #MindfulTech is all about.
During 2016, the #MindfulTech series will offer up ideas about how we control technology and use it to make our lives better. It will include suggestions about how we can implement technologies to help us work or live more efficiently, but remember where to draw the line.
Think About It. (Whatever “It” Is)
Mindfulness is a popular concept these days. Our overtaxed schedules and information overload have managed to swoop us up in a relentless effort to stay ahead (or catch up) with seldom an opportunity to actually think about (let alone enjoy) what we are experiencing at any given moment. When we force ourselves to be mindful about each moment of our day, we gain a lot more from our lives, and from all the people, occasions and sensations that make those lives special and unique.
I’d like to encourage us to approach technology the same way. Figure out what we really need and want, in a careful, considered way. Then we can insist that technology march to our drumbeat, and not the other way around. Look for the first post in our #MindfulTech series on Thursday. Until then, as usual and as always, I’d like to hear any reaction you have. Just give me a call or leave a comment below and let me know how these thoughts strike you so far.