THE VISION WAS CLEAR at first: technology would help us boost productivity, but reduce the demand on human hours.
In the 1960s, students learned their generation would enjoy four-day, 30-hour work weeks. Yes, we’d all soon be getting a long weekend every weekend … thanks to mechanization and computer technology.
The tools they said would free us … now have us trapped. We find it difficult to let even a few minutes pass without checking a screen of some sort. Leaving home without your smartphone is unthinkable. It’s almost certain your phone is within reach right now.
In effect, your computer has you enslaved.
But is that a bad thing?
Here’s what happened when I found myself without a computer at hand
My daughter needed a ride to a meeting at the local college. Since she would only be there an hour or so, I planned to wait at the student union coffee shop and use my phone to so some research.
In the rush to leave, though, I left Google sitting on my desk.
By the time I realized what I’d done, it was too late to turn around, retrieve the phone, and still get my daughter to her meeting on time.
No internet access means everything’s broken, right?
It’s impossible to get anything done without using a high-tech tool as a crutch.
In exasperation, I asked her to leave me with a couple of sheets of notebook paper and a pen. Armed only with those items (or so I reckoned … completely forgetting about the most important tool I possess), I bought a cup of tea and sat down at a table to wait.
I moaned a bit about not having my phone, then spread the paper out, picked up the pen, and began sketching out ideas about a book project I’d been keeping on the back burner.
That turned out to be the most mind-stimulating, productive, value-infiltrated work session I’d experienced in years.
45-minutes later, I reluctantly pulled myself away from the table to go get my girl. Not only did I leave there with two pages of notes and a strategic plan for the project, I took something even more important with me: The re-introduction to what it’s like to exercise my mind instead of being mesmerized by a computer.
Try it yourself
Deliberately take a 30-minute technology break.
Can you do it?
- Sit down with a notepad and pen. No electronic devices within reach, sight, or sound.
- Bring to mind a situation you’ve been neglecting. Something Google doesn’t have an answer for. Something that begins with a question you ask yourself.
- Get personal. Allow your pushed-back dreams to resurface. Think about things that matter, things that could make a major difference in your life if you were able to bring them to life.
Can you do that?
Most won’t. They’re too busy. They’re slaves to the screen. Worse yet, they don’t care.
But if you do, if you are strong and can pull it off, please let me know.
Tell me what happened.
Tell me how recapturing the power of your own mind feels.
Let’s talk about it.
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