The amount of information we are producing and consuming is stunning. I won’t bother linking back to anything about it as it is pretty well known at this point.
Importantly, I am revisiting an old idea that life is not short as much as it is merely wasted. I believe this to be quite obvious and it goes back over 2,000 years to Seneca who observed:
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Incredibly, the more things change, the more they remain the same; the more connected we are via technology, the more we are shorting life by mindless consumption (i.e. Facebook). For example, while it feels like we are ever more busy, we actually work less than the disconnected masses of the 1960s! But how can this be? How is it that we have more free time but feel busier?
Perhaps it is a matter of complexity around managing perceptions and distribution. Whatever the case might be, I think it is easy to let technology take over life in and outside of work. It’s hard not to answer that important email from a customer, or stop working on a promising new opportunity when we are always “on.” It can be equally difficult ignoring social media and the latest likes, news, and other completely unimportant “stuff.” “Checking out” from what is going on right in front of us has never been easier, and I am sure this is not all that “good” in the end.
The irony is that a lot of Silicon Valley executives, whose companies are enabling the hyper connected planet we live in, strictly limit their children’s “screen time.” They know how addicting and mindless technology can be, and that the fruits of life do not exist on the Internet or on any social media platform.
I have always been one to use technology to “untether,’ work from anywhere, and live more productively. But after observing how much my kids are mindlessly online (their iPhones and iPads are anything but a bicycle for the mind when used for SnapChatting), I had to evaluate my own digital consumption habits. Conclusion: Yep, I am making life short… For example. I pretty much stopped watching TV, but incredibly filled that time with social media (no quality of life gain in either case).
I have always been curious about Mormons having a higher life expectancy than the rest of us, and some of that seems to have to do with their monthly ritual of fasting the first Sunday of every month. While I have no plans of joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or quitting social media for that matter, I am going to start turning off technology the last Sunday of every month in order to reconnect with life without screens (including TV). Perhaps I may even live longer as a result. For certain I will have no regrets being stingy about time while “checking out” from “checking out”…
Join me in this little experiment and share your experience.
Happy no screen Sunday!