Is Technology Helping or Hurting Your Relationships?12 September, 2014 / Articles
Is this technology’s fault? No! Don’t blame the technology; blame how we use it.
Not too long ago, most people lived a very different life filled with many different realities. We had our work reality, our home reality, our recreational reality, our church or religious affiliation reality, our vacation reality, and many others.
All of these realities represented different aspects of our life that were separate from each other. After all, many times your spouse and children didn’t know who you interfaced with at work or even what you did all day. And the people at work didn’t know what you did on vacation or much about your home life or social activities.
Having all these different realities was good because it gave us a chance to recharge and re-energize. We’d go from work to home to a community activity, from one reality to another, which allowed us to shift gears and put our focus on different things. By escaping work and focusing on the home reality, for example, we could come back to work the next day fresh, rejuvenated, and more creative because we had a chance to shift our brain into another zone.
Today things are much different. We have one big interconnected reality, and technology seems to be the problem. Our smart phones and tablets allow us to take our email, our work, our games, our photos, our music — basically our entire life — with us wherever we go. As a result, all our individual realities have blurred into one.
Now when we’re on vacation, we’re really not on vacation. We’re simply at work in another location with more free time. We’re checking our email and waiting for that important message to come in when reading a book or sitting by the pool. Our work problems are not far away, they are all only a quick text, email, or call away. We can even see each other on our phones now, making it easy to have a quick videoconference with others from just about anywhere. As a result, customers and colleagues who depend on us can, and often expect to get a quick response from us whenever they need to.
While being connected is good, too much of a good thing can backfire. Being constantly connected has made us not as effective at problem solving, not as good at innovation and creativity, and not so great with friends and family.