When was the last time you went a whole day without using your smartphone? If it’s been a while, listen up.
A recent New York Times article revealed what most of us have already discovered through personal experience: in this digital age, our dependence on personal gadgets is hurting our productivity and ruining our personal interactions. Though seemingly paradoxical, the founders of tech giants from companies like Facebook , Twitter , ebay , Zynga, and Paypal , who profit from people spending more time online, are spreading a new message, loud and clear: disengage.
At the Wisdom 2.0 conference this past February, executives and managers from top technology companies listened to or participated in conversations with experts in yoga and mindfulness. Since then, an increasing number of execs are becoming vocal advocates in favor of counter-balancing our use of technology, and certain companies have even implemented some calming exercises in their corporate offices: Google, for example, has started a “mindfulness” movement at the company to teach employees self-awareness and to improve their ability to focus. If this doesn’t wow you, consider the fact that the Diagsnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is apparently planning on including “Internet use disorder” in its appendix.
The truth is, putting down our gadgets and taking up yoga is a lot easier said than done. Our fast-paced lifestyles make us reliant on our gadgets, whether it is for family purposes, telecommuting for work, or any other extraneous circumstance. While we can’t cut this dependence out entirely, I do think that the key is to live in moderation, something that these tech execs imply but that isn’t actually feasible until we find a system that works for us as individuals.
So what is the solution for the average Joes? Maybe all we need to do here is go back to the basics: just as we learned as children to Drop Everything And Read, carve out a little time every day in your busy lifestyle to stop with the technology and find an alternative activity- read a book, go for a walk, even take a nap. Once we establish this routine for ourselves, we will undoubtedly begin to appreciate the inherent benefits that come with going off the grid- beginning with more fulfilling work days and a better night’s sleep. More and more technologies will continue to emerge and disrupt our lives- that we know for certain. What we need to do now is prepare for the distractions that they bring.