Going on a Technology Diet

The title of this post is a little misleading. I am not going on a technology diet myself. However, I have a lot of respect for those who manage to do it. Sometimes technology, particularly social media, has a way of becoming more of a burden than a blessing. Certainly, it has its perks, but I think most people would agree that it sucks away a lot of time from our lives. I would love to be a person that is disconnected from the internet. Sadly, however, this is impossible in today’s day and age.

If we want to be productive members of society, we cannot simply stop using technology. Not only is it an essential part of our daily lives (and life-sustaining for some), but the world around us demands that we put ourselves out there. We are expected to use technology all the time, particularly in job situations. You must have maintained social networking profiles, smart phones, tablet-y computer things, and all sorts of other wizbangy gadgets.

I am being a little blasé, but I think this has a lot of validity. You cannot be a neo-luddite in the 21st century. You are expected to create a personal brand and actively market it while also using technology for work that demands your attention at all hours of the day. It gets overwhelming. I often wonder what I would be doing at my age right now if I were born 20 or 30 years earlier. Would I be spending my free time plunking away at a computer, pretending to speak to an audience that I don’t even know is there? Would I be outside? Would I be reading? Would I be–dare I say it–socializing with my friends and family?

But, as Bradley Cooper would say, there is a “silver lining.” How do we maintain balance with these demands while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that isn’t plugged in? The answer is planned breaks. We cannot just go cold turkey. We will fail miserably and then feel bad about ourselves, all the while missing out on important work related stuff. So, for instance, when you go on vacation, don’t bring your laptop. Sure, take photos, but don’t upload them instantly. Free yourself a little. You will find time moves slower when you’re not up to your ears in technology. If you’re not on vacation, take breaks throughout the day. During lunch, don’t surf the web. Don’t check your email. Don’t peruse Instagram. People watch–the old fashioned version of YouTube. During your work day, take a short walk when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t fill your free time with more mind-sucking, unproductive activities.

Now, I am preaching to myself here, as well. I’m the worst at this. But, at the same time, I really think that we need to back off a little. Sure, technology has made so many things possible that would have seemed unfathomable 10 years ago, even. But, we have been born into an era where we don’t yet know how to balance our digital and physical lives. Perhaps people 100 years from now will look back on us and shake their heads, saying “It is too bad that they didn’t enjoy the trees when they were still here.”

So, carry on, random readers! Best of luck to you!

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