Winning Words

Taking advantage of an unexpected and welcome break from technology

Column by Michael Norton
Posted 5/23/17

If you are like most people, we have all had those moments where we wish that we could take a break from technology, or at least some of the technology that seems to preoccupy our lives. Well, this …

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Winning Words

Taking advantage of an unexpected and welcome break from technology

Posted

If you are like most people, we have all had those moments where we wish that we could take a break from technology, or at least some of the technology that seems to preoccupy our lives. Well, this past week I had an issue with my laptop and tablet that required that I give up both so that they could be repaired and data salvaged.

As I left both devices in the capable hands of my IT team and boarded my flight home, I thought I would feel nervous or anxious about not having access to my files or my email. But as it turned out, I felt this overwhelming sense of calm and peace. Almost as if I were leaving for a little bit of vacation.

Now I still had my phone, and I was able to see email if I wanted to, I could text if I needed to, and I could check on what's happening in the news all from the palm of my hand. But instead, I decided that for the next two days I was going to make phone calls to the people I needed to communicate with, not just send a text or email. I went back to taking notes and capturing outlines for presentations on a pad of paper instead of on my laptop. It was very freeing and I believe it actually stimulated even greater creativity. I mean there is nothing like a blank sheet of paper and pen and pencil to begin drafting ideas and plans.

I enjoyed real conversations with my clients and co-workers. We had more meaningful dialogues, which led to deeper discussions and even more opportunities. I thought maybe I should go somewhat technology free more often.

Maybe you have done the same thing in your family that other families have done. Things such as no cell phones at the dinner table or during any meal for that matter. Or all cell phones remain in the car when we go out to a movie or restaurant. I have even heard of some families that choose one of the days of the weekend to go completely technology-free as a family for the day.

When it comes to reading, I still prefer a hardcover or paperback book over any type of e-reading device. To me there is just something about the feel of a book compared to the e-readers. Although I read on a regular basis, over these past two days I felt even more compelled to read as well as felt a sense of warmth and comfort with the book in my hand.

With technology comes advancements and efficiencies, I totally get that. But technology can also be a distraction and rob us of opportunities to interact with all of the people in our lives. It draws our attention unnecessarily away from our tasks at hand, such as driving, and sometimes even when we are pretending to carry on a conversation.

I don't know about you, but I do believe I am going to build a technology-free day into my weekly schedule. Maybe this makes me a dinosaur, I am not sure, but I know that it was freeing, it did stimulate creativity, connections to people were greater, and distractions were minimalized. How about you? Could you use a break from technology? I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com, and when we can embrace the efficiencies that technology has to offer, but also spend time in a technology-free environment, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton

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