“I couldn’t help it. I can resist everything except temptation” ~ Oscar Wilde
There are recent discussions that we have developed a Pavlovian response to our technology devices. We hear or see a notification and we stop what we are doing and look to see what it is and whom it is from. Sometimes we are rewarded with good news or a text or message from a special friend. Just like the dogs in Pavlov’s experiment we have been conditioned to respond to these notifications even though many of them aren’t meaningful or important. These interruptions cause us to be less productive because we are constantly disrupting our flow of work and getting off task.
During the month of April, I take a technology vacation every weekday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. I check my email, messages, and anything technologically related first thing in the morning and again after 5:00. This has really messed with my online games like Scrabble, Words with Friends and Blitz, but it also making me more productive as I am using that time to read spiritually. I don’t stop and check my mail and get sidetracked from what my current activity is, I am focused on the present moment. I have turned off all notifications so I don’t hear any dings that might tempt me. I learned that I really like these technology vacations when I was at a silent retreat and went 10 days without using any technological devices. I missed not being able to do a Google search every time I wanted to know something, but it helped me get quieter and I was removed from the constant disruptions, and the world didn’t stop because I didn’t answer an email or text. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology; I was the Technology Coordinator for a school district and I believe in it’s potential. However, I feel that we have become too wrapped up in our devices and must balance our use of them so we aren’t like Pavlov’s dogs.
So try taking a technology vacation for a day this weekend, or an afternoon, or evening. Turn off your phone or put it on airplane mode, don’t head to Facebook or your other social media tools, turn off the television and computer. Go for a walk in nature, have a conversation with a face-to-face friend, pamper yourself with the quiet time to relax or meditate.
Does taking a technology vacation scare you? Are you addicted to your technological devices?
How can you take breaks from your technological devices?
PS - Just so you know this blog entry was scheduled to post during a time when I am not using technology, this is another way you can still take a break but use the advanced capabilities of the devices.
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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