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The tech companies have done an amazing job with their marketing, telling us of the importance to “Stay Connected” but how has that impacted us and our behaviours.

I have delivered many courses on Time Management, Self-Management, etc. In each of these I have talked about the importance of using technology to manage our time more efficiently & effectively. It seems that we have become slaves to the machine rather than using the technology to improve our lives!
I have just come back from a work out at the gym where I started (as usual) with a half hour on the treadmill. I was there about 10 minutes and then a lady came and started using the machine next to me. She was dressed in all the workout clothes so looked a serious fitness person. From the moment she got on the machine she spent most of the time walking, while constantly with the phone in one hand (and appeared to be messaging). In the next 20 minutes of my workout she only put the phone down for 2 x 1 minute spells when she actually ran!

My only plus for this was that she could have been wreaking havoc in the street walking along looking down at her phone, oblivious to other pedestrians and traffic!

I’m sure that you will all identify with this situation but this is not an isolated situation. I’m sure we’ve all been on flights where people have an inability to switch their phones off. Manufacturers have added the ‘Flight Mode’ so we can work on our smart phones. Why? I’m only too happy to switch my phone off for the duration of the flight and have some respite. The best part is as you’re coming in to land and everyone rushes to see if they have messages coming in (usually the phone provider welcoming you back home!) and all you get is the cabin filled with the beeps of incoming messages.

Friends are an important part of our lives and I remember sitting in a café in Beirut one lunch time where I watched as 3 ladies came one at a time to meet over lunch. Apart from standing up and greeting each other, and ordering their lunch, they spent the rest of the time messaging on their phones before saying good-bye to each other and going their separate ways! Ahh friendship! Not how I remember it!

I’m old enough to remember the days when the only phones we had were on our desk, or in our homes, and if we didn’t answer someone tried to resolve it themselves or called back later! Leaders are being told by people like me to Empower, create more Autonomy and Responsibility, but when we are permanently available people know an answer is only a call away.

I’m not saying that there are great advances since the days of my youth but please can we control the technology rather than the other way around!?