I’m technologically proficient. I know how to use social media and cloud technology. I can type and text and e-mail as well as the next person, and even better than some. I even try new things if they interest me and seem to be useful for my needs. I don’t buy the latest phone or program or game or system because I don’t generally need that, and I’m comfortable with what I know.
Recently, though, I’ve been having technology woes. I’ve had to get my tablet replaced twice—in a week. And I lost a lot of information in the process, due to not backing up my files as diligently as I should have done. So I’ve learned my lesson on that front (and wonder if I really needed most of that information, anyway). And, like most people who are not computer nerds, I didn’t have much fun on the phone with the very helpful technicians who could not actually fix my problems or in the store getting things repaired, and eventually replaced.
In the meantime, I did not have access to a computer in my office for a period of over a week. And, when I did have access, I was mostly figuring out what information was lost and if I had it somewhere else so I could reload it onto my device and get on with my life. Being without my normal dose of technology for a week was both a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. The bad part mostly consists of the several weeks it’s going to take me to search out and reformat the information I’ve lost. Luckily, I have paper copies and other types of documents that will allow me to do that. It’s just going to take time and motivation and a good deadline to complete. And this time, I’ll be sure to back it up, again and again and again.
Good things that came out of my week without my tablet included spending time doing things other than sitting in a chair and staring at a screen for hours at a time. I took a lunch hour (or maybe two) at the botanic gardens one day and took in the plants and some wonderful glass sculptures instead of checking the latest Facebook posts and e-mails like I would normally do. I also gave my office a thorough cleaning, which it badly needed. And one day I took a walk at the park because I had some time between appointments.
I realized that many of the things I use my tablet for during the day are either not necessary or very time consuming, so it’s making me re-think my time on screen. How much time do I really spend checking e-mails or the news when there’s really no new information? It’s been very nice to unplug. And the longer I was unplugged, the less I thought about checking updates on my phone or computer at home, too. All of the niggling voices about being tuned in all the time faded away when I was forced to ignore them.
I’ve talked with several people recently who have told me about wanting to go on a technology diet, one who is going back to a dumb phone because she doesn’t want to be a slave to her smart phone, and another who feels overwhelmed by the need to constantly share whatever she is doing, at the cost of enjoying it while she is actually doing it! It’s a radical decision to make in our technology-fueled world, but I think it’s well worth doing.
In July, I’ll be hosting a series of 3 stress management classes, including one about managing technology so that it doesn’t take over your life. I think I’ve taken the next step into making that balance work for me. Join me if you can, and we’ll talk about what you’d like to change about your technology use!