Are We Reaching a
Technology Overload?
direct our lives. We reach for the phone first thing in the morning to check emails,
read news, and reply to text messages. We use our laptop for work, more than
eight hours per day. At night, we do more surfing with our phone, and do not stop
until past midnight. Our whole life is digital-based. We cannot afford to lose our
gadgets. Technology is more than just a means of communication. It is a tool for
living. We need it for work, relaxation, and entertainment.

The cost can be alarming. How Does Technology Affect Us?

It wreaks havoc on our well-being. Hours of working before screens puts a strain
on our eyesight. Overexposure to blue light causes lack of sleep and body
exhaustion. Surfing the net constantly also makes us more prone to bad moods
and negative thinking. We may think watching TV or videos will lift our mood, it
only helps us escape negative feelings temporarily. The moment we stop
watching, we are back to reality and we will feel even more bored, irritated, and
depressed.

It ruins our relationships. More time spent online also means less time for those
we care about most. Instead of playing with our kids, talking to them, or taking
them out for an ice cream, we devote our attention to phones or laptops.

It kills time. Time may seem abundant, but it is not limitless. It flies at lightning
speed. One day, you will look back and wonder where it went. All this precious
time we could use to create, to observe the beauty of the world, to contribute, we
squander it all for mindlessly scrolling.

It loads us with information. If you think time spent online consuming information
makes you happier and more knowledgeable, think again. More content is written
now than ever. But it does not help us achieve our goals faster. On the contrary, it
slows down our progress. We get overwhelmed and confused in the sea of
content.
It makes us too lazy to think. Information is so available, why bother thinking
when the answer we need is only one click away? And not just one answer,
millions of answers showing up as we hit the search button.

As creators and users of technology, we have been greatly empowered. Yet this
power often comes at the cost of increased reliance on the same technology. Our
enthusiasm to explore and know about life is often limited to Internet searches.
We do not go out and explore nature. While it is of great help to have information
available at the touch of a button, nothing can replace the experience of touching
the snow or feeling the coolness of a flowing river, experiencing the majesty of
the Colorado Rockies or the tranquility of Yosemite.

How do you reduce technology’s impact on your life? The key lies in awareness.
Do you use your digital devices on purpose, or just roam mindlessly? In my
experience, besides work and purposeful communication, the majority of our
digital time falls into the latter category. The key is to be mindful.

How? Stop tuning into TV or your phone when you feel down. Instead, engage in
an activity that cultivates awareness. Take a few deep breaths, walk, and see
nature. You may like to practice meditation. Again, the key is mindfulness. Here
are a few tips for working mindfully:

Do one thing at a time. Take as much time as necessary for each task but avoid
multitasking (e.g. you cannot write and check your email every fifteen minutes). If
you work on the laptop, make a rule to open only one to two tabs while working.
This will help you to stay focused and finish your work faster.

Set a time for consuming. Consuming means checking emails, replying to text
messages, making phone calls, reading books, etc. Fact: You cannot. work while
consuming. You will get distracted and end up using more time than needed to get
a task done.

Designate device-free windows of time where you ditch your devices and stay in
the moment. You can do this for longer stretches of time, or small windows each
week. Here are some ideas:

•Go for a walk without your phone.
•Ditch your phone every Sunday, making that conscious effort to take a technology
“It’s not that we use technology, we live
technology.”
— Geoffrey R.

Currently, it is common for “relaxing” to
include simultaneous television viewing,
online shopping, Facebook scanning and
texting. In fact, many people are starting
to wonder: How much is too much when it
comes to technology and our electronic
devices? Many of us today cannot live
without our phone, laptop, or iPad. Their
presence is so crucial in our routine that
their absence brings discomfort.

We do not just use digital devices for
information consumption. We let them
break. If you like the idea but are not ready to go that far, try Sundays for two to four hour blocks of time.
•Silence your phone every evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (or any other two-hour window of time).
•Take one weekend a month and go somewhere in nature without cell service.
•Do something you are passionate about. If you don’t have any hobbies besides work, cultivate one. Language learning, playing an instrument, cooking, walking.
There is plenty to choose from. Just pick one and get started.
•Walk in nature. Read physical books. Practice meditation
•Technology does not have to take charge of your life. You can still use technology without being consumed by it. The key is to be mindful about it. It will not be easy,
but it will be more than worth it.