Are you due for a summer tech detox?
There’s no shame in leaving your high-tech gadgets at home while you get out to enjoy the sunshine.
The rise of the smartphone has been both a blessing and a curse for those of us who want, or perhaps need, to stay connected while we’re out and about. An all-singing, all-dancing smartphone can act as your music player, portable cinema, digital camera, camcorder, sat-nav, personal organiser, computer, map and compass – if you strapped a Swiss Army Knife to the back you’d have the ultimate survival tool. But keeping a smartphone in your pocket when you’re off in the wilderness also means that the worries of the world are never far away.
It’s easy to frown at that person you see checking their messages at the beach, or firing off a few emails while pushing their kid on the swing, but some people don’t have the luxury of disappearing off the face of the Earth for four weeks every year. Sometimes striking a balance requires taking your work with you, rather than remaining tied to your desk or staying behind on that family trip.
You might not be able to go cold turkey and drop off the grid for weeks at a time but that doesn’t mean you’re trapped by your tech. Even leaving your phone on the kitchen bench while you sit on the couch or slip into the backyard can offer that feeling of freedom which comes from having nothing in your pockets.
You might rely on your smartphone for entertainment and swear that you’re relaxing, but holding your phone can still blur the line between work and play.
If you can’t get away from business with your phone in your hand then perhaps it’s worth investing a separate tablet which is just for entertainment. This can help draw a clear line in the sand both for you and the people around you who still struggle to know whether it’s work or play when you reach for your phone. Better yet, go old-school and pick up a real book, turn on the radio or head down to the shops and buy the newspaper. Or just sit back and become reacquainted with the concept of having nothing to do.
If your phone can never leave your side then perhaps you can give yourself a break by turning off push notifications and only manually checking your messages. Unless you’re getting paid to be on call, most things can wait an hour or two. Perhaps you can set up rules to alert you to the handful of messages that really can’t wait, so you’re not constantly interrupted by mundane things which drag you back into work mode.
For some of us a tech detox might mean simply abstaining from social media to escape the Controversy of the Day. The 24/7 news cycle has many of us feeling that we need to constantly stay up-to-date with the world and it’s easy to lose perspective.
Don’t miss out on much-needed downtime due to your Twitter-induced Fear Of Missing Out. In the words of personal development guru Ferris Bueller; Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.