Every day I walk down the street and coming toward me are people looking down at their smartphones and so focused that they would not notice the person coming at them and trusting that everyone else is paying attention and won’t bump into them. They miss out on what’s going on above, below and around them. I ride the transit system and people are plugged into their iPods or MP3 players listening to music so loud that not only do other riders hear it, these folks often miss their stop and end up walking a considerable distance to their destination. It’s quite a challenge to get their attention and to get them to move aside so that I can disembark at my stop. I overhear conversations in a number of different languages and recognize that people are unaware that they share enough personal information to have someone easily steal their identity and use their credit card with abandon. They generously share the intimate details of their lives certain that no one is listening when they really have a bored and captive audience. I enter a coffee shop and find every one is in their own zone staring fixedly at their laptop, tablet or e-reader and never looking up to see who surrounds them. I frequently see two people across from each other at a table engaged more in conversation with their smartphones than with the human being across from them.
What if you set aside an hour and took a “technology timeout” today? You could leave your phone in your office and spend your lunch hour taking a walk in the sunshine and enjoying the scenery; you could decide that you will not check your phone for a transition hour between leaving work and coming home or you could turn off all technology and set aside an hour before bedtime to let go of your busy day by reading a book, writing in a journal or creating a gratitude and accomplishment list for today and a to do list for tomorrow.
If you can successfully take a technology timeout today then do it again tomorrow and the next day until it becomes something that you look forward to doing every day.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about your experience taking a technology timeout today.