She is not alone. I too have limited numbers committed to memory. It’s amazing how much we rely on cell phones, tablets, and computers. One group of students I spoke with the other day said their smart phone is the last thing they see at night and the first thing they check in the morning. Without debate, we can safely say that technology has changed the landscape of our lives. Regardless of which generation you identify with, you fall somewhere on the spectrum of “yes, I enjoy the luxuries or technology from time to time” to “life would cease to exist without my smartphone”. Some feel that by being constantly plugged in to the world, we can be better parents, friends and employees. By responding to work emails immediately from our beach vacation and instantly answering a clients question at 11 pm, we show what team players we are and how great we are at communication and customer service. Right???
Studies have shown that being constantly connected has some side effects that might not be so beneficial to our career or our health. Here is a just a partial list of things to keep in mind when you reach for your phone:
We can tend to be more anxious and stressed because of that urgent feeling like you need to respond to emails right away – anytime of the day or night.
Wait a Minute
By responding to emails immediately, especially those containing upsetting news or perceived “tone”, our hasty reply may be something better left unsaid had we given it a bit more thought.
The address auto fill feature is great- as long as you double check it before hitting the send button. When we are in a hurry to respond, it can easily result in the wrong person being copied on the information. (I once had a friend who wrote an e-mail complaining about a co-worker and put the persons name in the address section rather than the person she intended it to go to. Ooops.)
Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from tablets and phones can actually interrupt your sleep pattern.
Be Social with your Network
The more time we spend checking on social media and interacting virtually, the less time we actually engage with the people around us. We’ve all seen a table of four in a restaurant typing on their phone and not saying a word to each other. Face to face interaction is a beneficial activity both personally and professionally.
So how do we unplug? Here are some tips I have heard that are useful.
- Don’t even look at your phone for the first hour of every day. Use that time to energize yourself.
- Think of three things you would like to do in a week and schedule the time to put your phone and computer away to get it done. It should be something fun like going for a walk, playing tennis, visiting a friend, or watching a movie.
- Promise yourself to unplug at least a half hour before you go to bed. Take that time to wind down.
- Unplug while driving. Turn the phone off completely. Put it in the truck if you think you won’t be able to resist checking it.
- And here’s a real challenge – unplug from all technology for one day and see what the world looks like. You might be surprised at how you feel!