I always see friendly faces at the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Coffee.  Last week was no exception when Christine and I were able to attend and hear Trip speak on technology.  The title of his talk was "Sleeping with Siri: 24/7 Technology" which got a few giggles from some of the attendees.  He started out by sharing how technology has changed so tremendously in the last 200 years.  We now have iPod's which hold thousands of songs that  fit in our pockets. It wasn't that long ago that a computer could only hold the equivalent of 1 song, was bigger than a refrigerator, and cost thousands of dollars. Yes, times have certainly changed. Technology is such a big part of our lives.  We use it continually throughout the day, accomplishing tasks at work and home.  We live in an age where many of us use our cell phones as our alarm clock and we then end up sleeping with our phones (Get it?...Sleeping with Siri).  When Trip asked how many people check their phones/email first thing in the morning, most hands were raised.  We go to bed thinking about what's on our phone and we wake up feeling the same way.  He commented how, on average, most people will check their phones 150 times per day!! That's a lot of "checking!"  He went on to talk about how many of us will feel panicked, upset, lost or angry if we realize we've driven off and left our phone on the counter.  I can't tell you the number of times I've actually driven back home to get my phone. Yes, I have a problem with feeling like I need to be connected.

Technology is so useful, but we shouldn't let it consume us and get in the way of our relationships.  Trip introduced some tips that can help us disconnect a little.  Here's how we can FOCUS:

  • Find and eliminate distractions - Listen for beeps, alerts and notifications.  Identify which ones are really necessary and which ones are not.  Turn off your email notifications, disable your badge counter.
  • Only do one thing at a time - Decide what task you could accomplish that day that would have the most impact.  Block out enough time to complete the task before proceeding on to the next.  Don't multi-task.  Switching tasks can result in decreased productivity.
  • Choose quality over quantity - Rather than texting, emailing or phoning a co-worker, get up and speak with them directly if possible.  We get more from face to face communication.  Make sure you are allowing yourself to tune out the noise, then pay attention to what is important.
  • Unplug - Go "off the grid" so to speak.  Disconnect from your devices.  Try journaling with pen and paper.  Make the most of your vacation time by either leaving your devices behind or better yet, go someplace without WiFi.
  • Say No - Saying no is difficult.  Making a "don't do" list might help.  Don't sleep with your phone, make it a point to not check your screens past a certain time each day, don't check your devices while you're driving and finally, don't experience life through your screen.

So there you go, just a few tips we can all use........focus and eliminate distractions, only do one thing at a time, choose quality over quantity, unplug, and just say no.