I love technology. I love gadgets. I love what the internet and Wi-Fi has done to our entertainment, communication and ability to reach out with new business ideas. The problem is that it can take over your life in a very simple and innocent way. Cell phones are ringing all of the time, we email around the clock, bring our computers on vacations, text instead of call, rarely know people’s phone numbers anymore… we just know they are in the contact list in our phone. Heck I don’t even have to dial anything… I just can hold my phone up and say “Call Mom”, and my phone connects us in seconds.
We drive everywhere, no need to bike or walk. Family time is spent around the TV. Complex and never ending automation has replaced most customer service. The list goes on and on.
Here is a challenge: Unplug.
Turn off the cell phone, no texting allowed, no computer or email. Walk or bike to the store, and pull out those old fashioned board games instead of checking out Netflix. Cook a meal on the stove, instead of the microwave. Enjoy some good old physical labor by putting the most cutting edge tools down.
At this point you might be thinking I’m trying to send you back to “Little House On the Prairie” land, asking you to shut off all electricity and modern amenities. I’m not asking you to heat your sponge bath water over a campfire… just rethink how you live your life, and if technology has made you just a little crazy.
Then, do an experiment. So far I’ve given a couple ideas, but here are some things I’ve tried or will be trying soon:
1. Communication unplug: Take a weekend out with no access to your cell phone, texting, emails, etc. Pick three people out in your life. Someone you love the most, another you’ve lost touch with, and another you’ve ended your relationship on a bad note with. Write them a one page letter.
2. Entertainment unplug: Take a weekend out with no TV, video games or computer. Read a book (not on your Kindle, a real paper book), play a sport outside or put together a puzzle.
3. Transportation unplug: Depending on where you live, try to walk to somewhere you need to go… even if it is a couple miles, and if the weather is not too bad. Give your car a break for the weekend. Find places you can walk to, which until now you just assumed the only way you could arrive there was through driving. Worse case, hold on now… Dust off the old bike and ride there. If you want an extra challenge and want an adventure, instead of taking a regular flight somewhere, take the train or drive your car.
These are easy, and will teach you more than I can write.