Turning Off

Turning Off

Are you a member of the modern lifestyle? You probably haven’t given it much thought before but consider this scenario: you’ve got a mobile phone, a computer, an answering machine and almost constant access to email. In short, you’re available anytime, anywhere.
Sure, you may need to be contactable for work, and surfing the internet may be a good way to wind down after a long day, but how much is too much? Today’s lifestyle is becoming increasingly solitary and sedentary, and this is likely to cause damage to both our emotional and physical health.
Think back for a second. How many times have you answered your mobile in the middle of a dinner date or rushed putting your child to bed so that you can get one last bit of work done? How many hours do you spend sitting on your butt, staring at a screen?
The advent of portable technology – led, in particular, by mobile phones – has led to the age of ‘always on’. Mobile phones aren’t just for making and receiving calls. Now they can be used to send emails, for video conferencing, for instant messaging, and so much more.
We even use our mobile phones for leisure – to play games, to take photos or to listen to music. Add in laptop computers, wireless internet and Palm Pilots and we have never been more connected to one another.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, we can make friends with people from different cultures, network with people from the opposite side of the globe, and contact our loved ones at the push of a button.
But tip the balance too far and you may very well find that your personal relationships begin to suffer. You may even rob yourself of some much-needed down time – time to relax and recover from the day.
So what can you do to ensure that your use of technology is healthy? It’s not about turning the machines off but, rather, learning to recognise when enough is enough.
Consider limiting your recreational use of the internet to an hour a day. After a certain time at night, let all the calls that come through on your phone go to voicemail or to the answering machine. Rarely will a call be so urgent that it cannot wait until morning.
Don’t rely on instant messaging programs to keep in touch with your friends. Organise a barbecue or go out to dinner and a play. You’ll have a much better time than you would sitting at home multi-tasking on the computer, and your loved ones deserve your full attention.
Read to your kids until they fall asleep at night. Play with them. Spend time with your family. You don’t have to do anything fancy. Just being there is more than enough.
So don’t turn your back on technology. Just realise that there’s more to life than being on call 24 hours a day. You’ll soon find that your life will be fuller and more satisfying than you could have ever imagined!