I am addicted to technology. For example, a large majority of my day is spent sitting in front of a computer. And for the remaining parts of the day, I have my mobile phone close by. If I happen to forget my phone at home, I can’t help but feel like a piece of me is missing. What if there is an emergency and I need to contact someone? What if I miss an important call from a client? What if I need to find a good happy hour and I don’t have my iPhone app to help me? Sometimes I have to remind myself that cell phones and the World Wide Web are relatively new technologies, and people got along just fine for thousands of years with out them. However, it is 2010 and I am more than thankful for Wi-Fi, apps, and email, allowing me to be productive no matter where I may be. But, could the ability to be so connected actually infringe on productivity? Is there a diminishing return when it comes to the technology we use? A recent article by Matt Richtel, called, “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime,” explores this concept.
Have you even stood in line at a coffee shop, while an executive in front of you was too busy emailing back a client on his Blackberry to order his mocha latte? Or what about the student on the bus playing a game on the iPhone? It seems like there is a pressure on our society to be connected at all times and use as many minutes of the day to be more knowledgeable than ever before, Richtel’s article offers a different perspective.
According to the article, giving up down time to use technology can actually inhibit your ability to learn, remember and become more innovative. According to scientists, humans need time away from noise or stimulation of technology to rest and reset, creating a person who is better able to intake all the media when they do use it.
So what does this mean for running your business? Don’t stress about turning your phone to silent and having a nice, mobile-phone-free dinner with your family, and leave your iPhone at home when you hit the street for a run. Despite your anxieties you will find that your time away from your technology, actually allows you to become more productive and better business owner.