Are You Technically Distracted?

Am I addicted to technology? I’m not sure—let’s deconstruct it:

My life is limited to only a few actual pieces of hardware: the TV’s in our home, the odd tablets my three sons have long since taken possession of, my company-issued laptop, and my iPhone.

I watch TV about 60 minutes a day—30 in the early morning for the local news and 30 in the evening again for news or perhaps a single episode of House Hunters International (my wife is obsessed)—so that seems reasonable.

My laptop is deployed several times daily when I’m writing my article, blogs like this or one of the several books I’m late on submitting to a publisher (which is basically every book I’ve committed to).

Then there’s my phone.

It serves as every access point for my external life:

  • It’s increasingly my wallet
  • My web browser
  • My Zoom access (which consumes about 7 of my 10-hour workday)
  • How I post to all social media platforms
  • How I consume 90% of my news (international, national, local, and which high school friend’s parents have passed away)
  • How I select restaurants and make reservations (remember those pre-coronavirus days?)
  • Obviously my camera (replacing the several-thousand-dollar Canon I’ve not seen in years)
  • Notetaking, calculating and driving directions
  • My calendar, which drives my awake hours in typically 30-minute increments
  • Allows me to monitor every inch of our home and property for intruders (typically raccoons and squirrels)
  • Consume podcasts and also serve as a guest on them (212 to date my publicist tells me)
  • Increasingly 90% of my communication with friends and colleagues is through texting and instant messaging
  • Serves as my introduction to new friends and business opportunities

Oh, and I use my phone to also make phone calls.

So basically, other than when I shower, eat, play with my family or exercise, I am either looking at my phone, somehow using it, or just holding it, because anatomically it’s become a new appendage.

So yes, I am addicted to my phone. Now what?

Of all the advice on technology distractions, I love Tiffany Shlain’s proposed "Tech Shabbat."

I’m beginning to practice it in small doses. Today, I will drive 30 minutes up to Park City, Utah, to a friend’s home for dinner. It will be four hours of socially distanced interaction and 30 minutes back to our home in Salt Lake City. That’s a five-hour Shabbat because I will leave my phone at home—but only because Stephanie will have hers in case of “emergency”. Small steps, people.

What’s your first step toward your own Tech Shabbat? Still not sure what that even means? You need to watch Tiffani’s On Leadership interview.

If you're like most hard-working professionals, you probably spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time pursuing your long-term goals. Manage your time with these 7 tips for doing what matters most - powered by The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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