Practical Ideas to Keep Your Technology Serving You


When I looked at my phone this morning, I had a few notifications asking for my attention.

I had not even had the space to think about my day and what I was going to make of it yet. But I felt the familiar subtle thrust of anxiety and a tiny bit of adrenaline as I saw that people were engaging with me via my posts, my photos and my tweets.

I was faced with a choice: Do I pick up my phone and respond or do I go on with my morning until I feel ready and centered?

With the prevalence of smartphones and more and more wearable technology hitting the market, this is a question we’ll all have to ask ourselves increasingly often. The more available the technology, the less available time and space without it becomes.

By now, most of us have given some thought to the effects of technology on life and relationships. This is not new. We’ve seen videos where scene after scene this woman’s relationships are interrupted by technology. We’ve read articles about how things such as Instagram make us feel.

Technology isn’t bad, but when it keeps us from the things that really matter, it can be. “We shape the medium and the medium shapes us” is what Marshall Mcluhan said. What he means is that the things that we create to help us and meet our needs end up changing us.

Our technology is powerful. Whatever device you’re using to read this could also connect you with much of the world. After all, revolutions have been organized with Twitter!

The power of technology is fun, alluring and overwhelming. We need intentionality in the way we engage in order to keep us from being too engrossed in it (or even enslaved by it). In a similar way that we give intentionality to bring health to other parts of life (God, family, exercise, eating, etc.), we need intentionally with our use of technology. In fact, in a lot of ways, our humanness and the sacred moments of life depend on it.

Here are some simple and practical ideas for you to consider in order to keep your technology serving you and not vice versa. They won’t all fit, but some may. Pick and choose the ones that work for you:

Turn Off Notifications
Do you really want to be interrupted in the middle of a great conversation because someone liked your Instagram photo or last comment on Facebook? The more notifications you have on, the more often your device will be commanding your attention.

Protect Relational Time
When you’re spending relational time, be intentional about not checking your technology. Keep your phone out of sight (in your pocket, purse, or bag).

I’ve been inspired by some families who don’t allow technology at the table or in certain rooms of the house. Others put their devices away at a set hour every evening to keep family time relationally focused.

Protect Creative Time
Creative output is hard work. It’s easy to distract ourselves by checking in on social media streams to avoid the difficulty of the hard work at hand. Instead of working through the stuck feelings, Facebook is only a click away.

By bringing intentionality to your technology use, you can create a better space to stay in the tension and keep pushing through the hard work. Even as I hit difficult spots in writing this, I found myself minutes later lost in social media feeds.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Relevant Magazine
Dan Cumberland

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