Last week’s article started this conversation which is really about
managing our lives and constant change.
This story about being “always connected” continues and will continue as we seek to find and maintain balance, effectiveness, and ourselves.
Last week’s post led me to re-connect with an “old friend”; yes, of course by e-mail, at first, but in the fight for a more personal connection we agreed to schedule an ancient experience – voice to voice. Here is part of what my friend, Allison wrote…
Today was my daughter’s first day of kindergarten. My alarm (on my iPhone) went off at 6 A.M. I was tired and didn’t want to get up, hit the snooze and checked my email. I then proceeded to scan approximately a dozen emails that came in my inbox since 10:00 P.M. last night when I checked it last. I then began reading your article on over-connectedness and started laughing to myself at the irony of reading this while lying in bed!
Now I’m thinking through your question: “What fear drives this need to be connected 24/7?”
Is it my fear of “not being connected“?
Or, to look at it another way, in my mind about one in seven emails will bring a reward of sorts.
Checking your inbox brings you a sense of being connected when you receive a note from a close friend or an email from an old acquaintance you haven’t heard from in a long time. It’s always fun to open your email and get a good referral or business lead isn’t it? Better yet, it’s exciting to get that email that confirms that the business deal you’ve been working on for several months is a done deal!
Maybe I’m just looking for a “good feeling” or affirmation.
Our family just returned from a week’s vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We didn’t take computers but Bob and I both brought our iPhones. We kept our “smart phone connecting” to a minimum, I think?
I appreciate Allison’s thoughts regarding what can drive this drive to be constantly connected: 1) Reward and 2) Affirmation. What are you looking for?
Dr Pepper e-Mail Management Plan
After reading my post last week I set out to examine and adjust my compulsive commitment to “over-connectedness”. Here are my first steps:
Step 1: I turned off 2 of the 4 email accounts coming to my iPhone
Step 2: Explored my “Dr Pepper E-mail Management Plan”. If you’re not familiar with Dr Pepper’s marketing strategy here is the article Roger Grace wrote in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, a Los Angles daily paper about Dr Pepper…
It was in the 1920s that Dr. Walter Eddy at Columbia University studied the body’s metabolism. He discovered that a natural drop in energy occurs about 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. But he also discovered that if the people in his research study had something to eat or drink at 10, 2 and 4, the energy slump could be avoided.
After Dr. Eddy’s research findings were released, Dr Pepper challenged its advertising agency to come up with a theme which would suggest that Dr Pepper should be that 10, 2 and 4 drink which would keep the energy level up. The result was one of the most enduring of Dr Pepper’s advertising themes: Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4.
The Dr. Pepper Company pushed the notion that ingestion of sugar at 10, 2 and 4 was actually something healthful. And, of course, parents would want their children to engage in healthful practices.
In these days when there’s a push to rid school cafeterias and vending machines of sugar-based products and those high in carbohydrates (which turn into sugar), it’s hard to imagine an ad like the one appearing in the Sept. 23, 1930 edition of the Port Arthur (Texas) News. It was headed, “One Healthful form of Necessary Nourishment that kids need no coaxing to drink,” and said:
“Little ‘Human dynamos’ run out of ‘juice’ between meals. That’s why they tease for sweets. Sugar is the quickest energy food and Mother Nature knows it. She prompts the appetite. It’s as natural as hunger can be.”
If your kiddies crave sugar, give them as much as they want…but in a form that can’t be abused. Dr. Pepper contains fruit juice for flavor and health…pure sugar for quick-energy supply…and sparkling water for bulk and thirst. No tax on digestion. No ingredients that can possibly harm. The small proportions of sugar to water is a safety-valve against excess.”
How would this “craving” for email be satisfied with 10/2/ 4? Right, not so well; so I thought about adapting it to 8/10/12/2/4/6/8…of course, that left out first thing in the morning and last thing at night! Seriously?
“Craving”, what an interesting word to associate with this subject…a strong desire for something. What do you crave that email seems to supply? Imagine losing your “smart phone”, how would you respond? Why?
Yes, I’m still working to define an adequate schedule for checking email.
Step 3: I turned off the “you’ve got mail” alert (on my iPhone)
Yes, I recognize these are but a beginning.
The real question: How much space do you have in your life?
As an executive coach I work with people with a lot on their plate. Intensity shows up. Little or no margin in the schedule; not much time left for personal development.
We talk about “Creating Space”; the disciplined use of time, place, and resources to reflect on the story for truth.
How do you create space in your daily routine?
Reflection allows you to examine your life, your thinking, your performance. To give careful thought to your behavior and performance. Creating space allows you to examine the path you are taking and make adjustments in line with your purpose, passion, and values.
Measure your life, it just does not have room for so much. – Seneca
What would be the benefit to you if you create space in your life?
What happens if we fail to create space?
This “Creating Space” for consistent reflection is the secret to personal growth.
The best predictor of sustainable success is the ability and willingness to learn and change achieved through consistent reflection on the story for truth.
A failure to create space leaves us stuck in life. Performance suffers, next level success is sacrificed. Your experience of life lived with purpose and passion while making a difference in the world will be limited. Your health, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, your relationships will suffer unless you give yourself this gift of consistent reflection.
Allison closed her email by writing…
I don’t think I’ve really said anything here significant. I’m pondering all of this because I find this phenomenon extremely interesting, as if we’re witnessing something that has never happened before in our lifetime.
Does this sound dramatic? Maybe so, but I see it stealing away our relationships to some degree. It’s the great paradox. Everyone thinks they are “more connected” with computers and smart phones. Texting and Facebook keep us all in touch with more people. Could more be less? Less faces, more aloneness.
Now I will stop. I’m beginning to sound like Steve Laswell.
How are you managing your technological connections?
What do you think?
For further reading: some other interesting articles if you want dig deeper:
- Wall Street Journal book review of Hamlet’s BlackBerry -“To Tweet or Not to Tweet”
- Scientists are studying this; check out The New York Times, Your Brain and Computers: “Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain”
It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.
- Regarding multitasking ““First Steps to Digital Detox” posted on The New York Times – Room for Debate blog
New research is showing that such immersion can cause multitaskers to have more fractured thinking and trouble shutting out irrelevant information, and that even when they are offline, those problems persist. A lot of Americans feel stress from juggling too much incoming information, but have to be online for work.
What are some strategies for unplugging from the demand of digital devices? Is there such a thing as too much multitasking?
Again, please comment below; I’d love to hear from you.