The experience of building a business designed to put an end to phone-based distracted driving has caused me to think a lot about the theme of technology distractions. Whether it’s texting while driving, using social media while in the classroom or in the workplace, or even engaging with our phones at the dinner table or at a restaurant while in the company of friends or family, there’s no shortage of examples of just how distracted we all are.
Technology is truly addictive. There’s a reason why Steve Jobs refused to let his family use Apple products in his household. If you’ve ever tried hiding your phone, tablet or computer or if you’ve made a conscious effort not to reach for your phone in social occasions, while watching TV or in myriad of other aspects of our lives, you know just how powerful the urge is to be “plugged in” and connected.
None of us are perfect, especially me. But in recent months I’ve made a concerted effort to live more in the moment. I’ve shut off most app notifications on my phone and I blocked messages from coming in during specific hours of the day (and night). When I’m at work, I’m laser focused on the job to be done. When I’m with family, I’m 100% present. I’m rarely on social media anymore. And when I’m out for a bike ride, at the gym or socializing with friends, I’m focused on the joy of the experience.
The benefits of being more present and living in the moment have been surprising and widespread.
My stress levels have gone down whereas I had previously noticed how each incessant ping from Slack, my inbox, my text messages and more resulted in immediate angst and stress. I don’t even open my inbox until I’ve accomplished my key to-dos each day and I’ll check my email in batches, only twice a day. I now own my inbox and not the other way around.
This has resulted in substantial increases in work productivity and efficiency which means that when I come home at night, I can be fully present with my family. Even my family has noticed my renewed focus on them. My sleep has improved (despite the addition of a newborn to our family!), I’m more focused and most of all, I’m simply a happier and more energetic person.
I never would have imagined just how far reaching the benefits would be from living more in the moment.
How has your relationship with technology evolved and impacted your own life?