Many of us have been guilty of spending more time on Facebook than we meant to or fiddling with our smart phones instead of engaging with real people. Where do the tools of technology stop being helpful and become distracting enough for us to lose sight of our goal?
When you buy a hammer, you know exactly what you want to do with it. You compare which ones come closest to the cost, size and weight of what you need. Once you purchase it, you use it when needed and then put it away. You might even take the advice of someone more experienced and learn how to handle it to get the most leverage and not smash your thumb.
We could approach technology the same way as a hammer, thinking of it as a tool and not as the end in itself. Here are 3 steps to ensure that you stay in charge:
1. Set your intention. Before engaging with technology, it is important to clearly define what your goals are. What do you want to accomplish? Without setting a clear intention, the allure of technology can easily lead us astray without even realizing it. This is because unlike a simple hammer, technology is always percolating and changing and it’s in our nature to focus on those “shiny objects”. Maintaining your intention for the hammer is easy. Technology requires a more conscious effort.
2. Evaluate. Be conscious of what you are doing. Regularly ask yourself questions like these:
Is this the best use of my time? Could this conversation be settled in 2 minutes on the phone instead of a week’s worth of email? Am I spending my time fixing my computer system when I could be out meeting a new customer? Why am I worrying about the new Facebook setting when I could be outside with family and friends? Am I busting up the floor with a jackhammer, when really I just needed to secure one floorboard?
3. Remain flexible. While setting your goals in advance is vitally important. It is also important be flexible enough to recognize when a new feature or technology may help you in ways you never thought possible. Which leads us back to point #1 – you need to know what you want in the first place. I want a nice place to grill out. Maybe the power drill and screws will be faster and easier than hammer and nails to build this deck.
Setting your goals and intentions, being conscious of what you are doing and being flexible are great ways to get the most benefit from technology – and hit the nail on the head.