Many times each day, while fully engaged in conversation with me, I observe employees of various businesses allowing themselves to interrupt our conversation with their smartphones. They will either pause in the middle of a statement to check their device or they will rudely reply to a text or email while I am speaking. I have observed this behavior many times each day, with other employees interacting with each other for a few years now.
Do they not realize that they are belittling our interaction with each other while engaging in another conversation or information exchange? This disrespectful attention thief is all too common, not only in our business world, but in our personal relationships as well. I have personally succumbed to the temptation of responding to texts while conversing with others more times than I care to remember.
Smart devices are among the worst culprits of attention depletion. The instant reminders, sounds and visuals tend to draw our attention away from those around us. We find ourselves relying on the devices for instant knowledge and answers.
Our ability to rely on our intuition, our inner guidance system, is diminished when we depend on our voice-activated, artificial intelligence software program on our smart devices.
Instead of relying on our memory and the knowledge bank within our brain, we can just ask our smart phone or smart home device. It’s quick, easy, convenient and available. If we cannot come up with the answers we need on our own, why not just ask our computerized intelligent personal assistant?
It is because it reduces the personal elements of life. It conditions us to rely on mechanical devices rather than the natural gifts of intelligence and the innate human qualities of interconnectedness and emotional responses.
Relying excessively on technology can lead to a reduced capacity to derive solutions to questions or problems we encounter daily. It’s similar to answering all the questions of your child or student instead of challenging them to formulate their own conclusions while we provide constructive assistance.
Dependence on external mechanisms for solutions reduces our brain power and the capacity to make decisions based on our own judgements and conclusions. It weakens us and contributes to lethargy and the over-reliance of external forces.
Knowledge at our fingertips can provide important information during times of business reporting, research and a host of other applications. However, we should be more selective with our inquiries and sensitive to our inner counsellor.
Exercising our minds is paramount to our mental and emotional development. It engenders means for producing elevated awareness, expanded neural pathways, and increased capacity for growth and improvement.
Mindfully accessing technology when necessary or when most convenient can be productive and satisfying. The problems begin when we find ourselves in the grasp of obsession by compulsively interacting with smart devices at every beckoning moment.
When we use technology as a tool to assist us instead of allowing it to control us, then we place ourselves in a position of power.
Here are some suggestions to reduce dependence on smart devices and shift your awareness back into the present moment:
- Go for a walk and leave your phone at home. Relax and enjoy the outdoors.
- While at the gym, leave your phone in the car. Focus on your workout routine.
- When using the restroom at work, leave your phone in your office. Take those few minutes to free up space in your mind.
- On your drive or commute to work, place your phone on silent, be safe and observe your surroundings.
- While engaged in conversations with others, ignore the impulse to answer or check your phone. Be courteous and attentive to them. You can always reply to a call or text a moment or two later.