From the moment we wake up in the morning, until just before we go to bed, and whether we notice it or not, technology is everywhere.
We use the alarm on our phones to wake us up, we read the news and our emails on the way to the kitchen to make breakfast, we put the TV on and watch the news before we head to work where many of us sit for eight or more hours a day sitting in front of a computer.
Then we make our way home, listening to music on our mp3 players or smartphones, checking our Facebook pages and liking random comments left by friends, then we arrive home where the TV is on ready for us to relax in front of it.
It is easy to allow technology to run our daily lives, to let it take over how we do things and when. And we might not even realise it’s happening. This is just normal 21st century living, right?
Are you checking your Facebook updates rather than talking to your partner sitting right beside you? Are you sitting on the computer while your little one is trying to get your attention? Are you spending more time interacting with your friends online rather than in the real world? Sounds like a case of information overload.
Living in such a technological and fast-paced society, it is near-impossible to get rid of all the gadgets entirely, but follow some of these tips to help you stop letting technology run your day-to-day life.
Allocate particular times when you use can your smartphone, computer and other devices. Do not keep it on around the clock. Make a rule of turning all gadgets off at 7 p.m., including your phone, and not turning them on the next morning until you arrive at work. For most phones, the alarm still works when the phone has been turned off — so you have no excuse. Turn the phone, the telly and the computer off and make time to read a book, talk with the kids, cook dinner together or listen to some music.
Make your weekend technology-free; this can be difficult for most of us but it is a great idea to get unplugged for a couple of days in a row. Turn everything off on Friday night and don’t turn it on again until Monday. Make sure you have other ways to be contacted that don’t rely on the internet, that way if someone really needs to contact you, they still can.
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Get into nature to recharge your own batteries. Go for a bush walk or a hike, go to the beach for the day and soak up some sun and leave your phone at home. It’ll be hard to be without your smartphone at first, but halfway through the day you’ll wonder what you even needed it for.
This might be a tough one, especially if you are going away for a while, but resist the urge to bring technology on your holidays. And while you’re at it, why not plan a holiday that gets you back to basics? Keep it simple and enjoy the company of the people you’re with. There’s no need to be constantly glued to electronic devices when you’re trying to unwind.
Why stop at device-free weekends when you can make it a device-free week? Now this is a tough one, especially if your work relies on you staying connected, but why not disconnect from all devices for a week. If you really need your devices for work, then allow yourself only to use them during working hours and only for work purposes. Every other time, disconnect, turn off and realise all the time you have spare to do other things. The first day you might be left twiddling your thumbs, but that just means you’ve found an opportunity to get creative which you didn’t have before because you were relying solely on electronic devices for stimulation. Now is the time to remember what you miss doing, what hobbies you love and the things you say you never have time for. Make time to go for a run, to take up a hobby, to do arts and crafts — you’ll find you’ll have more energy and more time to do the things you love.
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Stop making excuses
It’s not doing you any good. Do you really need to be working at 11 p.m.? Do you really need to be working on your online marketing image? Do you really need to share that hilarious LOLcats image? Perhaps, but if you’re still online well into the night you are using your time inefficiently. Get back to basics, give yourself a technology detox and use your time creatively, efficiently and get your time back to do what you love and what’s important.