Do You Need a Time Out from Technology?
Our smartphones, tablets, and laptops are communication devices; created to keep us connected to business and people, making our lives easier and more efficient. Technology has become a necessary part of our daily lives; they are convenient and accessible for nearly everything we need or want to do. But have they taken the place of our ability to independently think or imagine, turning us not merely dependent on our devices, but addicted?
To Choose or Not to Choose
The decision to unplug relies solely on ourselves; we must make the conscious choice to log off – and stick to it.
That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? You’re probably even telling yourself that you unplug from your phone all the time but how much of that unplugging is out of necessity and not out of a willingness or desire to log off? Be honest, you often leave your smartphone on and nearby while in the shower, at a social event, or even in the doctor’s office.
As a society, we have a fear of not existing if we don’t feel accessible and reachable. We have turned our technological devices into theoretical security blankets; Without our devices logged on and within reach, we have a sense of disconnect.
But even being in the company of others doesn’t remove the fear of not being reachable. If it did, you would look around and see people engaged in conversations with others instead of staring at their phones while out to dinner with friends. Research has told us that the increased use of technology can have a negative impact on our personal and professional relationships.
Making Time for Time Out
Our constant need to be plugged in keeps us from being alone and comfortable with ourselves. There are numerous ways to reconnect with life off screen.
- Recharge your own batteries – Being constantly connected can raise our stress and anxiety and distract us from things we want to do. Whether you put your phone and devices in another room or turn them off for a certain amount of time, use that “time out” to do something for yourself.
- Host a tech-free evening with friends – Invite guests to a tech-free evening. Ask them to bring a dish or game to play and have them surrender devices at the door or award prizes to the person who can go the longest without checking their phone.
- Establish tech-free time at home – Set a time when devices are shut down and turned in for the evening or for a select amount of time at home. Families can make this a tech curfew for the family to turn in devices before bed. Many people take advantage of the privacy or do not disturb features on their phones and turn off all non-emergency or unnecessary notifications after work hours.
- Take a tech-free day off – The National Day of Unplugging is a nationwide day in March started by Reboot and inspired by Jewish traditions and culture to unwind, unplug, and reconnect sans devices with the people in your family, community, and even yourself.
We are easily subjected to technology overwhelm when even our social networks and email feel like “noise” in our daily life. It’s important for us to remember that our devices are tools for business and life and should not take the place of personal interaction or time for ourselves.