Can I Turn it Off? Can You?
Like most of us email flows into my inbox and my PDA at all hours of the day and night. At times I feel I am drowning in a sea of both relevant and irrelevant emails. But when I come into the office I open my MS Outlook, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, (and a couple of other sites just to check and see what’s been going on since I last looked). Recently I worked out getting those same things on my PDA.
Aside from the fact that the above makes me into some type of information junkie and perhaps even zombie, I do like the ability to monitor my own dashboard of what is going on.
But as I sat in a long meeting yesterday and my phone was buzzing with emails, texts and even a call or two (I can tell the difference by how many buzzes) I resisted the temptation to look at my PDA. And it was ok. I have been going out of my way to not look at it in meetings, at lunches or dinners, or even with my family (probably I am worst to them about that) trying to espouse the philosophy to be in the moment and that in person contact is far superior to electronic contact.
I read an article this week that many people have become so in tune with their devices that they actually to a degree get a rush of dopamine when they receive a message from someone. And some people even get more out that contact than they do a physical one.
I get the idea although I feel in my case the reason is more Pavlovian. Ring that bell and I begin to salivate perhaps? I want to deny this.
I’m going away for a few days next week for a short and needed break. I will have my PDA and my laptop to check things – but I won’t be doing it regularly. In fact I will turn it off after the morning check and not check again until the end of the day. I find that when I do that there is almost nothing that cannot wait 8 hours or so. Also almost universally whatever seems critically important and blazing seems less so with the passage of time.
So I’m going to turn it off for a bit. Can you? Will you?