This year, I’m turning the big 3-0, and it’s safe to say I am part of what they call “the online generation”. Throughout my years, I’ve been able to see firsthand how technology has changed our lives, for better and worse.
I remember so clearly getting our first computer when I was eight years old and we were the first family at my school to get “The Internet”. Back in those days, you couldn’t talk on the phone and be on the Internet, but it didn’t even matter. You’d be online, chatting with your friends and your mum would yell, “get off the computer, I need to use the phone!” You’d groan but comply.
After 10 minutes when your mum was done, you’d jump back on the computer only to hear the most exciting news ever: “You’ve got mail!” Does anybody else remember that voice?! How times have changed. These days, I get an absolute feeling of dread as my inbox floods with emails and my iPhone automatically sends me push notifications. I now long for the days of postal correspondence from a pen pal; envelopes filled with magical and fun things like glitter and drawings, not work-related business and credit card statements.
I first realised something needed to change when my partner recently decided we’d be having “no phone” nights. What’s that, you ask? The rule is that we don’t play on our phones (or iPads) so that we can spend more quality time together. I mean, we still watch TV… but at least we are only distracted by one piece of technology, right?
Technology has changed the world in so many ways, and not always for the better. If you aren’t one of the 56 million people who has viewed the Gary Turk video called ‘Look Up’, then you really should check it out. The video, which is recited as a poem, has lines like:
“This media we call social is anything but.”
“Stop watching this video, live life the real way.”
It’s powerful stuff, guys.
So how can we live a life where we benefit from technology, without letting it take over our lives, making us miss out on all the good stuff? Luckily I’ve done the research so you don’t have to! I call it:
“How to have a healthy relationship with technology”
1. Go tech-free on weekends
I often leave my phone at home and go to the beach with a book or go for a walk. I also like to leave my phone at home when I travel so I can really enjoy the destination without distractions (or I take it and leave it in my bag for just in case moments).
2. No phones in the bedroom
Checking your phone before bed is a big no-no and will negatively impact your ability to fall asleep. The light from the screen goes right into your eyes and essentially tells your brain not to secrete melatonin – the hormone that makes you feel tired.
3. Schedule time to check emails
So rather than letting your emails be “pushed” automatically to your phone, you make a set time to check your emails. This practice allows you to work through your tasks more systematically rather than hopping from one thing to another without ticking anything off. Also, avoid checking work emails at night and on weekends. If you’re in the bad habit of doing that, it means you never really switch off, so you won’t be refreshed for the week or days ahead.
4. Make real memories
Rather than making it your mission to get the perfect snap for insta, just enjoy it and savour the moment. I love this photo below (even though it makes me sob on the inside). Look how happy Nanna is! She’s enjoying the moment sans technology and living in the moment.
5. Challenge yourself to try things the old fashioned way
Why not try to find a location without Google map? Wander around, use your eyes or ask people in the real world people where the place you’re looking for is. You might even make new friends or meet interesting people, imagine that!
6. Make a list of activities or projects you want to work on
When I’m bored my go-to is to trawl my Facebook newsfeed and waste away my spare time. So one idea I came up with was to have a list of activities or projects that I wanted to do. Now when I’m bored/have spare time, I check out my list and pick something on it that I can achieve or start working on. I’ve even heard of people who have jars filled with activity ideas that they pull out at random–how cool! Some of my ideas were: paint a feature wall, bake brownies, read a new book, paint my toenails or go for a walk.
See? It’s not so hard to have a healthy relationship with technology. As with almost everything, it’s all about balance, people. Now go forth and give it a go!
Detox from technology and take on an amazing adventure outdoors. Find your challenge
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