Unplugged – Re(Think) your Tech

In our journey to becoming Unplugged from our tech lives and start living a biological one we need to find a balance. Many of us live, work and play with and around technology constantly. Our lives are undeniably improved by tech and so are our work lives. However, this is where I want to to reconsider and re-think all of your tech.

The hardest part about breaking free of being a bot is to stop acting like one. Just the act of thinking about whether or not you NEED your tech and recognizing your dependencies and habits will get you that much closer to breaking free. I’m asking you to think about the tech that you surround yourself with and how you use it.

Consider your computer use, your phone use, your microwave use, television, stereo, car and even the smallest tech like watches will help you get yourself into perspective. Think about what you use these items for; do you use them for fun, for work, for necessity? I am asking you to HONESTLY think about these things – being honest is key to establishing yourself as a human and not a bot. Do not let your tech rule you, don’t turn to it out of habit, turn to it for specific and defined reasons.

Once you have your reasons for using your tech you should deeply consider why you have these things. Can you live without it? Do you have a laptop and a smartphone, and use both just for communication or social media – does your smartphone need to have all the apps and glam if you really predominantly use it for texting and phone calls? Do you always have to take your car to the grocery store on a nice day?

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Unplugged – The Journey of Networking

This is the second post in a series I’ll be writing about becoming Unplugged. Little tidbits of advice on how to unravel yourself from the life of being a robot. Not everyone wants to be hooked up to the Matrix and I’m giving you the red pill in small doses. Join me on the journey of becoming more than just a robot, help me, help you get your life back.

Never before have we been so connected. Smartphones with their apps fill our lives with ease and entertainment. Not all apps are bad, but take the time to consider how often you check your phone. How many social media networks are you part of? The world is a growing place, yet thanks to the internet it gets smaller every day.

You might think that you are gaining more knowledge, gaining more life by staying connected. I’m telling you that you are not. Don’t take advantage of the reality that in-human, in-person communication is still the most important thing.

Networking is the greatest commodity on the internet to entrepreneurs, aspiring professionals and intelligent communication. I do loads of networking myself; LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter take up a great majority of my day as a professional in the internet communication field. I’m not knocking online networking, I’m merely stressing the importance of in-person networking.

Don’t take for granted the power of face-to-face communication and interaction. Getting a cup of coffee with a local contact you met through the internet is possibly the best way to place yourself in their mind. Even professionals drink coffee, like to go to movies, enjoy cocktails and play golf. Get out, go find them, do it.

I myself have met strangers, acquaintances and supervisors for drinks and a quick chat. I can tell you for certain that the impression was a stronger one than any of my blogs, profiles or online recommendations could have given. You won’t even have to leave your card, put your number into his/her phone while your were sitting at the booth.

In short. Take the leap, don’t hesitate to meet new people in person. Never pass up the opportunity to go to the in company baseball game or the Meetup chat at the local coffee shop. You never know when your in human communication is going to get you somewhere or introduce you to someone or something new. These are the opportunities that you don’t want you to pass up. Let that smartphone sit in your pocket; it isn’t going anywhere, but the conversation just might.

Unplugged – The Beginning

Facebook is awesome. With photos, friends, events, places, games, and other endless possibilities how can I not spend all day there? It’s easy. Just don’t log in. A simple solution to a problematic lifestyle found here: uncheck that little box that says, keep me logged in.

I’m not saying that you have a problem, and I’m not saying that Facebook isn’t cool. What I am saying is that in today’s world it is hard enough to find time for ourselves. And no, Facebook stalking your “friends” isn’t alone time, let alone time devoted to yourself. I’m just telling you the truth, you need more time for you. Those of you who do this digital life as a means and a lifestyle, I’m especially talking to you.

Take those few precious moments, or hours in many cases, and just relax. What sort of life are you living when you are always checking the latest youtube videos, or Reddit updates and Facebook statuses or text messages? I’ll give you the answer, an un-enriched one. Why waste time talking about your hobbies and posting photos of your nights out, when you could be doing more and making more memories? I’m not asking you to neglect your internet and telephones and other electronic life sucking devices, I’m just asking you to take some more time for yourself. I’m looking out for the betterment of you.

You might not see the effects of being plugged in every day, but they are there. I’ve been there, obsessively checking my phone and email to see if anything has changed, but unless there is an emergency I don’t find either of those activities to be fulfilling or compelling. I’ve even found those behaviors to lead myself and others toward a decline in health and social life.

Our bodies weren’t made for this life of non-physical social interaction. And by that I mean is a non-responsive interaction. Our bodies and our minds crave social interaction, and we think to ourselves that text messages and IM’s are just as good, but our bodies and minds don’t react the same way when someone actually laughs at our comments or even cries when we tell them of our failures.

If you don’t believe me, check the facts. Many prestigious and enlightened schools of science have studied these things. Sure, they are generally the same scientists who promise us fat burning pills and whatnot but there is some truth to their science somewhere. Discover Magazine has done many articles on the studies of multimedia users and multitaskers and found, humiliating results. Our brains just can’t take the stress, literally. Be become dumber in these moments to compensate for our lack of ability to absorb them all at once.

So if you don’t like being dumb, you don’t like doing things less than your best, and you really just want to find some time to better yourself, get unplugged. Uncheck those pesky boxes of remembering your password and logging you in automatically. You’ll be surprised how just the step of having to type in your email address and password will remind you of how many times you’ve logged in today.

If you are doing tasks on the computer for work, school or even just for information searching be mindful of your current task. One of the ways that I personally avoid my email, facebook and other such deliciously addicting sites is to use two separate browsers. For example, use google chrome for youtube, and maybe Firefox for your email or internet explorer for Facebook. That too will help keep your work and play life separate from your digital worlds. That way, every time you open that different browser you will recognize what you usually do there; keep bookmarks and passwords relevant to that use separate. If you know that you are going to be distracted by the escapist all afternoon, don’t use that site in your favorite browser. That way your history will be separate and you can better stay on task.

 

Interested in researching more yourself? Check out these links that I have provided from reputable sources!

Discover magazine articles on Multitasking and Multimedia

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2009/08/24/infor…

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/08/25/multitaskers-a…

http://discovermagazine.com/2005/aug/email-make-you-dumber/?searcht…

 

NPR’s article on multitasking

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794

 

Study explained on multimedia multitasking at Boston College

http://www.bc.edu/schools/csom/graduate/news/2011/Multimedia_and_Mu…