People in the workplace talk at length about work/life balance, but I believe the real issue now is tech/life balance. I recently went to AT&T to get a free phone and over 90% of my available choices were smart phones. The sales person was dumbfounded that I wanted a “dumb phone,” as I call it, that won’t connect to the internet. People now have the power of a personal computer in their cell phone that they can access the internet, apps and their email. Boredom is a thing of the past when you can play Angry Birds while you are waiting for an oil change. There are definitely benefits to having all this power in your cell phone, but it becomes an issue when we don’t have tech/life balance with our families.
Since my entrance into Apple Addiction four years ago, I have been struggling with tech/life balance. It was especially hard when I had my iPhone. When my daughters were playing dress up or coloring, I could escape into a random game on my iPhone or check my email for the 100th time that day. Then I sold my iPhone and got an iPad with the hopes of being present with my daughters. That didn’t work either. Anna, our oldest, would say things like, “Daddy you are always on your computer or your iPad and you never hangout with us!” It was a broad generalization but there was a lot of truth in that statement.
We just got back from spring break in Colorado and on the drive home Hillary told me that I did a good job of finding a balance between tech and life while we were in Colorado. It took discipline to keep my iPad up in our room and not have it within reach while we were hanging out in the living room. It was definitely worth it though. I even read more during the trip.
Here are a few other practices that I have started which help me to be present with my family and maintain a good tech/life balance:
- Leave the iPad and laptop at work
- Don’t use the computer from the time I get home at night until the next morning
- Get a “dumb phone” that doesn’t have access to apps, email or internet
What practices work for you?