Last week a couple of friends and I were talking about technology and smart phones, and it wasn’t long before the topic of iPads came up. One friend has one, the other wants one. I bought my iPad when it was released, but it wasn’t long before I was kind of worn out by it and had decided to let it go.
My iPad wasn’t one of those impulse purchases that I found I didn’t use, it was actually something I found that I was using too much. While the iPad was supposed to be for scheduling, client notes and presentations, I found that it was only being used 10-15% of the time for work, the rest for play. There wasn’t anything happening on Facebook or Twitter I wasn’t aware of, I was downloading more books and magazines than I could read, Words with Friends was happening in real time, and I was spending more and more time connected to my iPad, and less and less time actually engaged in my life.
The more time I was spending plugged in, the more fragmented I was beginning to feel and in just a few months time I truly understood the importance of unplugging on a regular basis. I felt jangled, stressed, and my neck was killing me. My “home” time was disrupted and barrage of social media never-ending. The emails that I easily shut off on my phone, came to my iPad unchecked at all hours of the day and night (not the iPad’s fault, I just had my settings open to allow the delivery), and I had push notifications turned on for practically everything. That thing beeped, flashed, and lit up continually and I was there for most of it.
While I won’t go so far as to say that I had an internet addiction, I was definitely realizing that having the “world at my fingertips” was indeed becoming a problem. While the iPad was supposed to make my life easier, I felt like it was actually making it harder. The iPhone is one thing, I mean, I don’t care how whiz bang that thing is, it is SMALL and I don’t feel compelled to WORK or spend much time on it, I just use it to stay in the loop during business hours and have some great music for the gym.
Not everyone has a down the rabbit hole experience with their tablet. In fact, Gary bought his two weeks before I got mine and uses it for business, and streaming Pandora. He doesn’t care about Facebook, and prefers to read his books and magazines in paper form. Many others are able to use their tablet for occasional work, occasional entertainment, and leave it at that. But I was ALL IN, and I know that I’m not alone.
If you feel like you are spending too much time using technology, or are noticing higher stress levels, disrupted sleep, decreased productivity or poor posture, take a break. And even if you aren’t feeling any negative effects, check in with yourself on a regular basis. Fragmented and more involved in the digital world is no good, take off your shoes, put your feet on the ground and spend some time in the real world, it’s worth it, I promise.