Ensuring Technology is your Servant not your Master

I was at a Publix the other day, and could not help but notice that standing out in front of the store entrance were four people texting, checking email and who knows what else on their mobile devices. My first thought was these people are just hanging around loitering, but quickly realized that these folks were probably conducting business. Although this may not be that surprising considering the times we live in, I did think about how connected our lives have become with these “devices.”

Business has changed. Big changes have happened in the past few years with synced devices where people can check their business email from anywhere. We text, fax and process orders from our cars, home or anywhere else for that matter and even handle business while we are on vacation.

Finding Balance in a Connected World

I remember when my boss was making a big deal about how they were going on vacation and not going to answer their emails or calls for four full days. This seemed like a big deal. I thought about how business has changed in this day and age. Being on the road and away from the office has a completely different meaning than it did 10 or 20 years ago.

Websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc., this is how you now connect your business within your community. But how can we manage keeping this all in perspective? How do we find a balance between our family time and work time?

These new technology features were designed to make our lives easier, but has that really happened? Are we better communicators because of technology? Are we better able to balance our lives because we have fancy phones that also do a multitude of other things?

Is Anything Really New?

It seems like a daily occurrence that I am complaining (to anyone who will listen) that I am waiting for “so and so” to call me back, or waiting for this person to respond to my email message. With all of this technology at our disposal why are we still struggling with simple communications?

I believe the answer is we have ALWAYS struggled to communicate with each other. Throughout time we developed more and more technology to make our lives easier and to communicate better, yet we still are human beings who can only do so much each day and take in so much information. No amount of technology is ever going to change this. The Pony Express didn’t make us better communicators – it just allowed for our communications to happen faster and more efficiently.

Yes, technology makes these processes easier and more efficient, but at the beginning of all these equations are simple human beings trying to balance their families, friends and work so that they can find time to enjoy the weekend and still get that promotion at the end of the month.

Can We Un-Plug?

With all of this information whizzing by us at speeds only imaginable a few years ago, we need to take time to turn off our phones. We need to pull ourselves away from the computer and take the kids outside for a game of tag and we need to spend a few moments in quiet solitude to re-charge our systems and get ready for the incoming flurry that we will call tomorrow.

Technology does not communicate for us. There has yet to be a system created that will text for us or respond to emails without a person prompting it. Technology can make our lives easier and more efficient, but we have to be the masters of technology and know when it is time to turn it off for the day and let tomorrow bring with it whatever it may.

I am a big believer in moderation. Excessive anything is not good. We need to moderate our dependence on technology and it will in turn make our lives happier, fuller and more rewarding.