The Machine Doesn’t Care

Posted by in Keynote, productivity, Uncategorized, workshops | 1 comment

We are living in an extraordinary time, in the very infancy of the technological revolution. The breakthroughs and positive benefits of living in our ‘techno-world’ are wide ranging and touch every area of our lives, from communications and entertainment to science and medicine. 21st century technology is also changing our perspectives on what’s possible and our potential to make a difference at home, at work, in our communities, and the world.

We also know from our own experience that computers and technological devices, all of which are designed to make us more productive and efficient, can use us up, spit us out, and leave us feeling inferior, ineffective, frustrated and stressed out.  While we can’t know what the long term impact of living in a digital world will be, we can do our best to make sure we are using the technology we are inventing to support ourselves and each other in doing good work and improving our lives. We can also do our best not to trade our human connections, empathy and compassion for short term, shallow thinking; behaviors associated with too much technology and too much useless information.

We need to learn the principles, tools, and practices for effectively living and working in the face of too much technology, information and spiraling expectations. Adopting the teachings and principles will leave you more able to deal with the stress and anxiety associated with technology and information overload. Less stress will improve your ability to focus and be present, leaving you more productive, energized and fulfilled.

The world has changed…dramatically!

Over the past twenty years there has been a dramatic explosion of technology and information. Our work environment has shifted along three lines: Volume, Speed, and Complexity.  There’s a disconnection between the new work environment, our traditional approaches and our ‘brains capacity’ to effectively deal with work and life. We think it’s personal and we work longer and harder to keep up. Working longer hours is unsustainable; resulting in exhaustion, sickness, impatience, disengagement, an inability to focus, and read at length or think in depth.

We have come to rely on technology to help us keep pace in the digital, techno world. Many of us find nearly impossible to catch up, let alone keep up with the ever increasing demands of the modern world.

Too much technology and too much information are having an impact on our brain function, mental and spiritual well-being, and the quality of our relationships.

Our Brains simply cannot function efficiently with too much information. Too much information causes stress -our brains secrete cortisol and adrenaline, initially boosting energy levels and augmenting memory. Over time, these hormones may impair cognition, lead to depression and alter neural circuitry that control mood and thought. As we spend more time with technology related tasks (emailing, computer work, web surfing, texting and tweeting) the more our brains try to adapt and become identified with computers, devices, blackberry’s, laptops, and all manner of wireless gadgets.

Our brain circuits become weaker with less face to face contact, leading to social awkwardness, impatience, an inability to focus and interpret nonverbal messages, isolation, and less interest in traditional learning. As a result, many of us feel the need to be busy 24/7 and 365 days a year. Our well being is compromised and our productivity suffers as we attempt to get more done in less time in order to keep up with increased demands.

We need to develop an integrated approach to productivity and effectiveness that is grounded in the totality of who we are, leaving us feeling empowered, energized and working on what really matters, guided by the highest good.

In the face of too much technology we need principles, practices and tools that support our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. We need to be able to recognize and release our addiction to be constantly busy, and always on. Here are a several practices that will help relieve stress and anxiety, increase your capacity to think clearly and qualitatively, and enhance productivity:

  • Slow down, take long slow deep breaths, spend some time alone, and be quiet. Meditate consistently if you already know how or learn to meditate if you don’t.  More than 600 scientific studies verifying the wide-ranging benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique alone have been conducted at 250 independent universities and medical schools in 33 countries during the past 40 years.
  • Develop your ‘inner coach’. When you notice you feel anxious, fearful or stressed, take a time out. It’s not a punishment. It gives you the chance to reconnect to yourself and the information that the emotion is giving you.
  • Give up trying to ‘get it all done’. You can’t, it’s impossible!
  • Sort information and take action on what’s most important for yourself, your family, and your work. You can do this by simply asking ‘what is for the highest good in this moment? Does this feel right?
  • Clean and organize all the places that impact your productivity. Schedule time to do this in stages; don’t try to do it all at once.
  • Don’t eat lunch at your desk.
  • Take five to thirty minute ‘power naps’ have a huge impact on our ability to function & focus.
  • Take brief but regular breaks away from your desk at 90 – 120 minute intervals
  • Don’t take your technology to bed.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

It’s up to you to adopt practices the principles and practices that will help you stay focused, be present and feel good at the end of the day. Only you can make the commitment necessary to breakthrough the habits of spending too much time with your technology and devices. It may be hard at first, as you go through withdrawal, and it will take some discipline.

Is it worth it? Yes, if you value your connection with yourself and the people that matter most. Remember, at the end of the day, the ‘machine’ doesn’t care! At least, not yet.

One Comment

  1. We just discussed this last night in group. Thanks for sharing.

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