Help! I’m *too* dependent on technology…. and I can’t get up!

Is technology holding you back?

Are you unsure if you’re obsessively dependent on technology?

I’ll admit that I am.

Find out if you are in my camp, by honestly answering this two part quiz:

Pop Quiz — PART ONE:  
Nod your head if you depend on technology to do (at least one) of the following:  
Save phone numbers and addresses
Make to-do lists
Upload your calendar
Share photos from your smartphone
Stay in touch with family, friends or business contacts
Keep your phone/ipad in your bag/pocket/purse at all times
Pop Quiz — PART TWO:  
Nod your head if technology has failed you (at least once) in situations like this:
The info was coming at you so fast that you couldn’t put it into your phone in real-time, so you depended on your mind to remember — and you failed.  Miserably.
That important email is missing
Your phone/ipad battery lost its charge, and you were away from home, and  felt “Now, I’m screwed”
The date and time of your appointment never saved in your calendar
The photos didn’t upload properly and became lost
You didn’t get that email that they swear they sent
You tend to have a freak out when technology fails you — but you keep going back for more

Your score and what does it mean?

Did you find yourself nodding to at least one statement in part one and another in part two?  Great News!  I am happy to inform you that you are permitted (and encouraged!) to keep reading this post.

If being totally dependent is not foolproof, why do we depend on it *so* badly?

I have a few theories on this, speaking from personal experience:  We like playing the odds.  We like the rush.  We like the quick access to a plethora of information.  We are constantly mesmerized with how a small laptop, tablet or phone can hold that much information which could fill a whole room/house/building.  We want to keep up with the Joneses.  We’re lazy.  We don’t want to miss out on anything.  We are convinced that technology is just a rocket booster to our brain.

I am not here to say that all technology is evil.

(Uh hello, I just admitted that I depend on technology above, and you can check out an article that I wrote about My Favorite Simple Living Apps.)

But what I am suggesting is that perhaps it’s time to find a happy balance.   Maybe it is time to start to give some of the high-tech dependency a back seat.  But before you can say chopped liver, I urge you to please set aside the tendency to think  all or nothing.  It’s not black or white.   Giving up technology entirely, well, it just isn’t realistic,  nor is it the truth of today.

(I mean, seriously.  I think I would have to be hospitalized if God struck a lightening bolt down onto me and said “Aimee, you can no longer have access to a smartphone.”)

There are times when good old pen & paper wins.

Hands down.  Let me give you a few examples.

Example #1:  I am knee deep in a project for work (or personal project) and I keep speaking with experts who are helping me and the information keeps changing, or keeps being added to my so-called-database.  I am not on a laptop, I am totally “out of pocket” (sorry to use such jargon, but if you are on the go, I bet you know what I mean), and I only have my smartphone.  And people are talking to me really fast.  I simply cannot type all of this information onto my smartphone fast enough.  So instead of trying to rely on my brain to remember these details, I wisen up……Enter small spiral notepad stage right.  Cha-ching!

Example #2:  I have a project that I am working on and the subject something that does not come naturally to me.  [Read between the lines:  this means that it is hard for me to focus, and I easily get sidetracked] For me, this list includes anything involving finances, focusing on personal development…and writing blog posts (yes, in this exact moment, I have a separate window with a Google Doc where I am planning a family vacation to Charleston this Fall. Shame on me.)  But when I unplug technology, and just put a pen and small spiral pad of paper in my hands, things seem to flow much more easily.  I remove the easy distractions, which force me to focus on the task at hand.

Example #3:  I have so many ideas and things I am pondering in my mind.  About all different kinds of things.  I know that it is time to do a brain dump.  And If I type them, I know myself well enough that I will get all hung up about how things are formatted, how things are expressed….and then I get sidetracked.  Again, good ol pen & paper trumps all in a scenario such as this.  When I am brain dumping or brain storming, something magical happens when I forget about my sleek and hipster MacBook Air, and put pen to paper.

And the way to “get it done” is with a small spiral notebook

Why, in each of these examples, do I say that a “Small Spiral Notebook” saves the day?

Ah yes…the Small Spiral Notebook. Brilliant — Click for photo credit

First of all, a small notepad is perfect because it can go with you anywhere.  Insisting that the notebook is spiral ensures that all of the pages stay intact, and you can access your notes in order of sequence.  Legal pads of paper are for the birds.  They’re always half filled up, and because the pages are so big, I feel like I really need to write a lot to be meaningful.  And then I get sidetracked.  With a small spiral notepad, I can focus on the most important points, and it encourages me to write shorthand.  And write down the key points to keep it simple.  Line or no lines?  Lines are a good thing — they keep things on track and focused.  And I suggest to stay away from any perforations…you’re just asking for it for papers to be easily lost as they’re easier to rip.  Top spiral or side binding spiral?  I prefer side, as I can then more easily write on the backs of pages without getting all turned around….plus when I go back to review my notes, I can read the notepad like a book.  Much more intuitive.

Let’s consider what “off-line” ways you can add into our bag-of-tricks to help us stay on track, and function in daily life.  There are a number of subtle ways that you can start to integrate this back into your life again.

This week, I challenge you to try something that I have integrated into my life . Oh yes.  It’s the small spiral notepad.

Here is your task:

1.  Buy a small 3 x 4 spiral notepad (any drugstore will do !)

2.  Carry it with you in your purse/pocket/pocket all week long, everywhere you go.

3.  Use it in lieu of your tablet/ laptop/smartphone when you feel that you really need to focus and/or the information is coming at you way too fast

4.  Post your results to our Simple Living for Busy People Facebook Group

Answer this in the comments:  Do you feel like you are “too” dependent on technology?  Are there any other things that you have purposely implemented into your life in order to create less dependence on technology?  I am looking forward to your thoughts and experiences….and so is our Simple Living community.

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