“We are the controller of technology. If we become slaves to technology, then that’s not good.” Dalai Lama

You might not expect the Dalai Lama to comment on technology, but he has a number of times, including as quoted above.

It’s no secret that technology has changed our lives dramatically in recent decades. In fact, I can’t imagine how my life would be today if it weren’t for it. We live in a world where you have two lives: in person and online, thanks to text messages, Whatsapps, social media updates and messages, emails, telephone conversations, video discussions, and games. As if one life wasn’t difficult enough!

People are beginning to discover that all of this technology may just be a bad thing as the years pass and we become less enthralled by the concept. This isn’t just something parents or grandparents say about their children. In addition to the younger generations, I’m starting to believe that grownups are the silent offenders of this social spiral scenario.

It’s almost as though we’ve reached a saturation point with technology. People have never had to worry about the problem of work-life integration (where there is no longer a true work day because most people can access their phones/computers from home).as much as they do now. And no other generation of parents has had to be so concerned about their children’s social skills deteriorating.

Is there a way for us to live better and cohabitate more healthily with these devices strapped to our hips? Yes! In truth, inventors and engineers worked for years to design these products with the goal of making our lives easier!

This is crucial. The technological load that phones and computers bear will vanish once we begin to utilize them for what they were created for: to complement our lifestyles. Sweets, wine, toys,… and technology, as we all know, are meant to be enjoyed in moderation. So the day you learn to use your phone(s) and computer(s) in moderation, you may proudly declare that you have perfected your relationship with your life-long, always devoted companion… your device.

Silence Those Notifications

Push notifications allow your phone/computer to notify you when an application, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, a newspaper, or something else, has an update for you. Push notifications are great in theory; they keep you up to date, so you never miss a beat. However, this accounts for a significant portion of your time spent on your phone or computer.

Is your phone beeping with a notification? Must take a look! By promptly reacting to these messages, you ensure that you will be logging on multiple times throughout the day. And that you’ll probably stop what you were doing to do so, which can be seriously damaging to your productivity and distracting and rude if you are with company.

Instead, turn off notifications and simply check in once or twice during the day at set times. Everything will still be there, and you will no longer feel like a slave to your devices.

Only Check Emails at Set Times

It’s incredible how frequently people check their email throughout the day. I’m confident in saying this because I’ve done it myself. Checking email is the most common source of wasteful behavior throughout the workday – and this is true even if you aren’t working!

Disable the push notifications and don’t check in every time you get an opportunity, as previously stated. You will pay attention when you read and answer to your emails if you set up a specific time to check and respond to them. When you’re not worrying about what’s in your inbox, you’ll be more present in the world around you. In today’s society, the recognized rule of thumb is that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. Nobody should be anticipating a response from you at that precise moment. Why should you waste your free time, or interrupt the flow of your work day,  worrying about email?

Be mindful of equating leisure time with squandered, ineffective time; the two are not synonymous. You’re making a conscious effort to refresh yourself and enhance productivity when it’s time to get back to work by actively engaging in your leisure time by relaxing (thus the term).

Getting others used to this can be tough. However, stand firm. Add an autoresponder to your email accounts that clearly states the times you will check and respond to emails. And then stick to it. The increase in your productivity – and the clarity of your responses – will surprise you.

Prioritize the People Around You

Making folks around you wait while you finish that text or email is so typical these days. Put your phone down and interact with those who are present in real time. The key word here is “engage.”

When you’re talking to someone, pay attention to what they’re saying. Allowing yourself to be distracted or wanting the discussion to end so you can return to your device is a dangerous trap to fall into. The truth is that these folks are standing right in front of you, right now. They should take precedence over those in other areas.

You’ll probably discover that having these chats in front of you is more useful in any case! These are the talks in which you can speak and be truly heard, where you can delve into the subject, listen to others’ opinions, and respond. These are the kinds of conversations that help people form bonds.

Just Put Your Tech Away

With so much technology around you, the simplest way to regain control of your life is to simply put your phone or laptop down. Are you going out? Allow yourself to fully engage in the experience by not having your attention elsewhere. Have your sound on in case of a call or emergency message, but otherwise, allow yourself to fully engage in the event by not having your attention elsewhere.

Going out to dinner with someone? Don’t make them feel like they’re being ignored or that they’re not entertaining enough for you. Give them the time and attention they deserve! After all, they’re spending their time with you. Also, restrict the amount of time you spend on these gadgets in general.

The easiest way to feel like you are glued to all your tech gadgets is to actually be stuck to them. Make an effort to feel in control of your phone or computer rather than the other way around. But as you are an adult, it’s up to you to make that effort. Mum or Dad aren’t going to take YOUR cell phone away, the ball’s in your court.