2 Ways Technology Might be Holding You Back
I hope you've been enjoying our podcast series on Technology. If you don't know the scoop, we are doing a 4-part series on technology and minimalism and they go like this:
Part 2 - Digital Consumption
Part 3 - Social Media
Part 4 - Kids and Technology
We released part one last week, and part two comes out this Thursday with the last two episodes of the series on their heels. While we hope you are able to garner some insights for yourself, this series has been convicting for the both of us personally. Our work on this series basically was the nudge Eryn needed to "go all Cheryl Strayed," get in the car sans devices, and give some series thought to the way she's been using technology. I had to take two months off social media to get myself in line. We've been learning. I share this not to brag, tell you what to do, or to shame you....I only share to tell the truth in hopes that it may unlock something in you.
We struggle with this stuff.
As we approach our episode on digital consumption (or choosing technology) I was thinking about why we even want to think about being intentional with technology in the first place. Why does it matter? Our motivation for creating these episodes is not to inspire everyone to quit Facebook and start the revolution. Technology is not evil. The prescription for everyone is not to take a social media sabbatical. But I do know that we spend an awful lot of time on technology and we all seem starved for time. I believe that anything that we spend so much time on is worth a look (by the way, the average American spends 20 hours a week online). I believe that people can use technology as a means to escape in the same way that people use drugs, or tv or alcohol or food.
So how do we know if technology is an issue for us? When should the alarm bells go off and the red flags fly?
As I mentioned before, technology is neutral. It is not evil. It just is. I believe, however, that when we peel back the layers, and start to notice how we feel during and after we consume technology that is what can help us start to make some honest observations and possibly lead us to make some changes in the way we use technology. For me, there are two big, giant red flags to look for when consuming technology.
If you are using it to avoid
How many times have you had something on the docket of our to do list that would require a legitimate amount of brain space? Something like unraveling a complex problem at work, or cleaning the house, or working on a creative project? As I'm writing this article, I'm fighting the urge to get on Facebook. The internet, angry birds, Instagram....they are easily accessible and an easy way to avoid a hard project, feeling sad, or experiencing boredom. When we can stop using technology to avoid feeling our feelings and doing the things, magical things can happen. We might just feel the feeling and get the thing done.
If you are using it for comfort
Did you know that checking out the likes on Facebook can give you a similar dopamine hit as taking a drug? Kinda scary huh? Yet a lot of us do it anyway. It's so easy and accessible and fun....and "harmless." But the problem is that it doesn't last. We keep seeking the next like, the next comment, the next heart because the rush wears off quickly. It's an endless cycle. A person trying to lose weight can eat a cupcake and they will get a temporary rush of dopamine... but they get further away from the lasting satisfaction of being comfortable in their own body. In the same way a person who cannot stop checking Facebook is further from reaching the lasting well-being that so many of us are seeking.
So if you think you may need to make some course-corrections in the way you consume technology, but don't know where to start, try asking those two questions:
Am I using technology as a means to avoid doing something or feeling something?
Am I using technogly for comfort or to avoid discomfort?
I hope that resonates with you in some way. I hope that in sharing our challenges and successes around technology that it encourages you to take back some of your time, thoughts, and energy. And who knows? Maybe we will, indeed, start the revolution :)