Does the tech you use enrich your life or make it more stressful?
Tech gets a bad wrap. It is blamed for encroaching on our work life balance, contributing to stress, and keeping us switched on and connected more than we would like. But the reality is that it’s not the tech’s fault. It’s the user’s fault. Tech should help us, not hurt us. But somehow, we have lost our way.
Let’s think about different ways to use tech to enrich our life, rather than detracting from it.
The reality is that it becomes solely our choice whether we use tech as a blessing or a curse. Remember when we were first introduced to smart phones? We thought it was great because we could work from anywhere, get things done on the fly and generally be more productive. What happened? Well, firstly, we decided that it was a tool to keep us switched on rather than a tool to free us up. Then, we added things like social media and became slaves to the dopamine hit that we got form connecting with others and seeing content that piqued our interest.
So how can we get back to using tech for good instead of evil?
As a first step, we have to make the decision about what we want it to be. If we think back to basics, how do you want to use that minicomputer you have in your pocket (ie your smartphone) to make your life and those around you better? Do you want to use it to connect to important people in your life (instead of just everyone), do you want it to free up your time outside of work (instead of keeping you in ‘work mode’ longer) or do you want it to bring you useful information (instead of just information)?
If you can answer those questions, then you can start to make a conscious decision about how to use tech in a more targeted way.
We know what NOT to do. That is the topic of countless articles and books but also probably just common sense. We know when we are being pulled into the online vortex in a non-productive way. So instead, here are some things that you should do to try to maximise your use of tech.
Check email before getting home
Do a final check of email before walking through the door. If there’s something important, get it done so you can forget it and connect with your loved ones. This is especially important if you’ve been out of the office at meetings for the afternoon.
Keep an eye out for that perfect picture
We see people taking pics for Instagram and we often think “can’t they just leave it alone for a minute?” But the upside is that it can also make us more appreciative of our surroundings. Just like a photographer is on the lookout constantly to capture the perfect sunset, taking photos can make us more attentive to our surroundings and can help us find beauty in simple things.
Comment and send good vibes
Connect with people in a meaningful way. Don’t just look at social media feeds but make some meaningful comments that might brighten someone’s day. You’ll both feel good about it.
Use transition time to learn
Find podcasts, eBooks or audio books that enrich your learning and development. Then use transition time like commuting or waiting times to learn something new or improve your skills. Try to stay away from ‘junk’ content and lean into valuable content.
Use Apps that help you achieve your goals
Don’t forget to use apps like habit trackers, meditation apps and others to improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you don’t have any of these on your phone or they are hardly used, move them to the front screen so you can have a constant reminder.
Tech should enrich our lives, as it was originally purposed. If it’s not – then maybe we need to take a look at our usage and be more mindful of what’s happening every time we unlock, swipe or scroll.
** Tony Wilson is a Workplace Performance Expert focussed on helping leaders build the environment for high performance. His insights into performance science and it's application in the workplace will make you re-think the way that you approach leadership, culture change, high performance and productivity. Tony has an MBA and a BSc majoring in physiology and combines the two for a different perspective. He is also the author of Jack and the Team that Couldn't See and delivers workshops and keynote presentations around the globe.