NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Andy Jorgensen
The Internet and mobile device technology is truly amazing in how it enables people to communicate, learn, share and work. It also sometimes enables people to walk off the end of piers. Ahh yes, tech giveth and tech taketh away.
Concerned that children are forgetting how to interact with one another in the real world? What about you? That’s the harder question and that is my challenge to you, dear reader. Let us look within, into the vast emptiness of our souls and examine our own susceptibility to the allure of being taken away to another time and place, of multitasking, of ego-elevating, instantly gratifying feedback, of feeling busy and efficient, the comforting confirmation of hearing our own beliefs repeated back to us. Wait, were they my beliefs, or were they theirs? I don’t remember anymore… I digress.
You may ask yourself, why should I stop watching Netflix while I shop on my tablet and answer work emails with my laptop? I’d use my phone to talk to a friend, but the kid is using it to binge watch Phineas and Ferb. Well, science says that multitasking is bad for your brain, for one thing (www.pnas.org/content/106/37/15583). For another, we did not evolve to be working all the time.
Ancient hunter-gatherer humans spent about three or four hours meeting their basic needs for food and shelter. They spent the rest of their time chillaxin’ and enjoying each other’s company (science.) Our bodies are not coping well with the stress hormones that are produced when we work. They are meant to kick in just long enough to get us away from danger and have a mean hangover that leaves us drained and strung-out. People are prone to take out this yucky feeling on whoever happens to be nearby, friends, family, strangers… online randos that don’t share our particular views.
I have been spending some time unplugged from the hive-mind and I can report that it is nice. I have been unplugging each night several hours before I go to bed. My mind is more able to relax and spread out. I have to admit, it’s hard at first. I felt the pull of the smartphone. I felt the need to satiate every impulse to get something done at the moment I felt it. That has been slowly wearing off. I don’t feel any less connected, either. In fact, I feel more connected—to the real world.
Here are some wonderful things to connect to by unplugging:
- Connect with your kids
- Connect with your spouse
- Connect with the present moment
- Connect with yourself
Consider a “lights out” time in your house and turn off your router a couple of hours before bed. The hardware store has a wireless remote kill switch for the power outlet. Turn off your smartphone at night. Take a walk and leave the phone at home. Go camping where there is no cell service. Leave the laptop at home when on vacation and turn off the email on your phone.
I once received an automatic out-of-office reply from a European customer at work. It said that the person was on vacation and would not be checking their email when they returned. It invited the sender to message or call again after a certain date. What a great idea! One reason Americans give for not taking more vacation is the pile of emails that they know they’ll come back to. Magnifique!
Andy Jorgensen does QC and IT for Rehearsal and is NCET’s VP of Creative Services. Rehearsal is a video-based practice platform that helps people practice their skills for when they need them to pay the bills. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.