Are You Eating Too Much Technology Junk Food?

By August 25, 2010Productivity

That question probably doesn’t make any sense to you, so let me explain.  I was listening to an interview with New York Times technology columnist Matt Richtel, when he mentioned that technology is a lot like food.  Like food, you need technology to survive in today’s world.  But as we all know, some foods, like fruits and vegetables, are good for us, while other foods, like twinkies and double cheeseburgers, are bad for us.  Technology is no different.  There are many ways in which technology is good for us (it can help us be more productive and stay connected to friends and family, for example), but we need to also beware of technology junk food (texting while driving, information overload).

Are you eating too much technology junk food?  Take a quick 5-question quiz to find out.

1)      Do you get bored while sitting at red lights and find yourself checking emails and text messages?

2)      Do you avoid working on daunting projects by surfing the web or jumping from program to program on your computer?

3)      Do you feel panicked and stressed when you’re not able to access the internet or your email for a few hours?

4)      Do you feel like you’re constantly waiting for new emails and feel the need to check your inbox or smartphone at least once an hour?

5)      Has your spouse/parent/child complained that you spend too much time on the computer or toying with your smartphone?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you might be “eating” too much technology junk food.   I am no stranger to technology junk food myself; I could answer yes to all 5 of these questions!  That’s why I researched five things that I (and you) can do to get on a technology diet.

Technology Diet Plan:

1)      Keep your phone out of reach while you’re driving (and resist the urge to attempt to reach for it while dodging traffic).  Even if you’re stopped at a red light, you need to give your attention to the road, not your phone.  Sure, you might be stopped, but you might miss the light turning green.  Worse, you might not see a reckless driver who’s about to hit your car.

2)      If you have a big project you need to work on, gather all the internet research you need beforehand and then cut off your connection until the project is complete.

3)      If at all possible, disconnect on the weekends.  This will give your brain a break and will help you feel rejuvenated come Monday morning.  Disconnecting is especially helpful on three day weekends and vacations.

4)      I got this tip from Ryan:  Turn off email notifications and only check your email twice a day.  This will help you answer email more efficiently and will keep you from getting distracted.

5)      Rather than reach for your smartphone to play a game or watch a Youtube video, allow yourself to get bored every now and then.  That’s when your most creative thinking happens.

Do you think this is a good technology diet plan?  Do you have any technology diet tips of your own you’d like to share?

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