Technology, Peace and Sanity

Like this on Facebook

A few years ago, I sat down and did some math.

I tallied up how many minutes I was spending on Twitter each day.

Then I multiplied that number by 75 years, because I’m hoping I’ll live that long.

Here’s what I discovered: if I continued using Twitter in the same way, by the end of my life, I would spend 1.8 million minutes of my life on Twitter. That’s 1,250 days. Or, about 3.4 years.

I kept staring at that number — 3.4 years — and I felt sick to my stomach. It didn’t seem possible. But math doesn’t lie. This was the future I was building through my daily choices.

After that little math equation, I decided to make some changes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to “quit” social media all together, so I started with a short break just to see how things went.

During that break, I also began to examine my entire relationship with technology. My relationship with my phone. With my laptop. With email. With online metrics, like measuring how many people visit my website, and whatnot. I tried to explore each area with curiosity. “Why is this part of my day? Is this crucial? Do I really need that?

I changed some patterns. I deleted numerous apps. I began using technology in a more intentional way — “selecting” rather than “sleepwalking.” To this day, I’m still figuring out how technology fits into my life — what feels healthy, what feels meaningful, and what doesn’t. It’s a relationship that continues to evolve.

Here are my current policies and preferences:

– I don’t keep my phone in my bedroom anymore.

– I switched to this alarm clock instead of using my phone to wake up.

– I keep my phone on silent (on the other side of the apartment, face down) all day long, almost every day, unless I’m expecting a call from a friend or client.

– I deleted all my social media profiles. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, bye. It feels beautiful. I have more space in my brain. Yes, I still have friends. And no, my business has not suffered.

– I have a website where I share stories and articles, and I have an email newsletter. I focus my energy on these two communication channels rather than social media.

– I love email (I think it’s magical) but I don’t reply to emails instantly. Sometimes I reply within 30 seconds. Other times, it might take me 30 days. It depends on the request. I state this on the Contact page of my website to set realistic expectations.

– I delete all of my text messages at the end of each day — except for texts from my partner, Brandon. (I like to re-read B’s texts, especially if I’m traveling and we’re apart.)

– I have a few websites / apps that I love and use regularly, like Spotify, Postmates, Wave, Hulu, and ClassPass.

– I have a few podcasts that I love and download regularly, like 2 Dope Queens, Invisibilia, and Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

– I try to invest in digital stuff thoughtfully. Do I really need a new Macbook Air or the latest smartphone model, just ’cause it’s available? Not really. Do I want a pair of Bose headphones with incredible sound quality that I’ll use for 6-8 hours every day? Hell yes.

– As much as I love the efficiency and portability of an iPad, I still love reading actual, physical, tangible books. I always will.
Nobody has the right to tell you how you should — or shouldn’t — use technology. It’s entirely up to you. We all have different preferences, different goals, and different needs.

Deep down, though, we all crave meaningful human connections. We all crave serenity, peace, and space to breathe and think. We all crave less clutter, less noise, and more beauty. Technology can help to deliver these things. Or technology can hinder these things. It just depends on how we choose to use it.

Almost everything in life is optional, not mandatory. This includes email, social media, smartphones, Netflix, Amazon, all the other facets of modern life. It’s important to question everything. “Is this necessary? Is this meaningful? Do I truly need this in my life? What would happen if I made a change? If I took a short break? A long break? How would that feel?”

Rather than sleepwalking through our lives, let’s stay awake and curious, and keep asking these questions.

 

This article was originally published at www.AlexandraFranzen.com

Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

Recommended

Work-life balance: 7 strategies for less stress and more success

In a world where the professional and personal demands of our lives often collide and compete, we long for more balance. Work-life balance is a ...

You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make Progress

The other day, I hopped in a cab. The driver and I started chatting, as you do. She asked what I do for work. I ...

Leaderly Quote: When you fail, it diminishes your fear

You took a big risk... and failed. What now? This is a question I asked Holly Meidl in a recent leadership webinar. "If you can ...

  • R. Purusothaman

    I am highly touched by your article and suggesting to read your article. One has to analyze like this by asking questions to himself/herself. How many hours am I spending time on the social media? Am I using these social networks very constructive way? I am just imagining my life like, if social network is not there, how and what would be my lifestyle? However, social media is a powerful tool, and how we are using it whether just surfing on the Internet or with I personally feel if social networks helping for individual development that is highly commendable.

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

A few years ago, around the time when I was launching this blog, ...

Want to be Excited on Monday Morning? Be an Intrapreneur.
Want to be Excited on Monday Morning? Be an Intrapreneur.

“While it’s true that every company needs an entrepreneur to get it under way, healthy

4 Hidden Ways to Take Risks — And Propel Your Career Forward
4 Hidden Ways to Take Risks — And Propel Your Career Forward

“Have big dreams. You will grow into them.” — Unknown If you’re looking for a

How to Have a Thicker Skin for Negative Feedback
How to Have a Thicker Skin for Negative Feedback

Everyone agrees that it’s a smart practice to ask for feedback. Don’t walk through life with

Leaderly Quote: Don’t be a “lone ranger.”
Leaderly Quote: Don’t be a “lone ranger.”

“How do you know when you’re breaking too many rules?” I asked this question of

Learn to Become a Fierce Negotiator With Our Latest Infographic!
Learn to Become a Fierce Negotiator With Our Latest Infographic!

We hope you love our visual take on tips to help you negotiate like a

4 Sloppy Speech Habits that Undermine Your Influence
4 Sloppy Speech Habits that Undermine Your Influence

At what point would you stop listening to a speaker who opens with: “So, OK,

Asking for a Raise in the Age of #MeToo
Asking for a Raise in the Age of #MeToo

Thinking of asking for a raise? “The old negotiating adage still rings true: if you

Leaderly Quote: Demote your inner perfectionist
Leaderly Quote: Demote your inner perfectionist

For some of us active and recovering perfectionists, we await feedback holding out hope that if

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month

Here are the top articles that other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this month. Do

3 Ways to be a Strategist, Not a Tactician
3 Ways to be a Strategist, Not a Tactician

“You need to be more strategic.” Many aspiring leaders have heard this type of feedback

Be Leaderly Spotlight: Selena Rezvani
Be Leaderly Spotlight: Selena Rezvani

We’re thrilled to welcome Selena Rezvani to the Be Leaderly team, and to her new role

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Erin Lo
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Erin Lo

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

How to Go After Awards and Recognition (and Win)
How to Go After Awards and Recognition (and Win)

Just last week, a Director at a well-regarded business school explained to me that she

Leaderly Quote: Don’t let fear steal your dreams
Leaderly Quote: Don’t let fear steal your dreams

“Don’t let fear steal your dreams.” — Sabina Nawaz

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly