I am a self-confessed technophobe. I blame it on growing up without a microwave (because the zaps would kill you). My parents still can’t reset the clock on their oven when the hour goes back and to be very honest I struggle just the same. I am the only person I know who got an iphone fairly early on in the smart phone explosion and gave it back because I missed my lovely tank of a Nokia. My husband works in IT and so I have renounced all responsibility to do with anything technical.
So it’s been a big stretch for me to get more involved with social media. I signed up to facebook long after everyone else but rarely posted. I had a blank linkedin page for about 18 months. Somebody sent me a viber message recently and I don’t even know how that app is on my phone. I still don’t get twitter.
In launching my coaching practice, it was fairly obvious that things were going to have to change. And to some extent I have been pleasantly surprised. The power of social media is amazing. The ripple effect of your networks network ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ your messages is like watching Ireland do what it has done best for centuries. Talking and recommending and connecting. So I am slowly slowly being converted. I doubt I will ever be a natural at this and I’ll always prefer a face to face conversation but I can accept and see the value that technology is here to stay.
However, one day recently, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the various noises my phone was making as emails from personal & business accounts, texts, whatsapps, vibers, facebook posts, facebook messages, linkedin updates, calendar reminders and app updates needing my urgent approval, dinged, vibrated and tinkled all at once. I saw messages flash up that so far I’ve been unable to retrieve as I don’t know which source they came from! I think I got back to most people but then I started thinking about how much time it took to respond to everyone and where the balance lies between technology helping us and technology controlling us. When is it time to step away from your phone?
In my coaching experience, the two most cited reasons for people not getting what they want is because they say (a) they are too tired or (b) don’t have time. How much of our precious time is spent just keeping up with the demands our technologies place on us? How much of that time is actually worth it and if we weren’t doing that, what else could we be doing? How much fitter could we be, how many more friends could we see face to face, how much more could we get done at work, how much time could we spend playing with our kids, how many more books could we read?
I was in the park with my daughter today and I saw a dad with his three kids, two were on scooters, one toddling to keep up. Except the cursory glance to ensure safety, his eyes remained glued to his phone. Now I’m not judging this dad, he looked like he is probably a great dad, he may have played with them all weekend and was just checking the scores, but I wanted to gently shake him and say look at what you’re missing. What is on that phone that is more important than a Sunday afternoon with your three girls? And what are we teaching our kids when technology appears more important than them? How can we expect our teenagers to talk to us when we elevate the importance of our technology beeping at us, clambering for attention?
I really do understand the enjoyment many people get from technology, but if you’re struggling with fitting everything in to your day/week/year that you would like, or if there is a goal you have that seems beyond reach because you just don’t have the time, or if you’re kids are acting out, I suggest doing a quick audit of how much of that time you are spending on something that just might be beginning to control you. Food for thought from an albeit self-confessed technophobe 🙂