Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Digital Diet

Beautiful day today. Weather was perfect.

I am enjoying sorrel, parsley, chives, parsnips and leeks from the garden. I am not enjoying the weeds and wondering why they grow so much better than the vegetables.

I read a great book "The Digital Diet - the 4-step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life" by Daniel Sieberg. Seems ironic to be blogging about it.

Although I am a tech guy, I never really thought I had a tech addiction. What I like is trying to figure out what the future will be. I adopt many new technologies then basically drop them after I have a feel for them - saying "they are not for me" or "not yet, not now".

I am keenly aware of efficiency and time so always try to figure out the time savings vs the time cost of every technology. What is much more difficult to do that that is to figure out the voids being filled and what gets pushed aside for a new technology. I am also a health person so usually am aware of the health issues (many labour saving devices deprive us of the exercise we need so we end up saving time but having to work out)

Sieberg made two points the hit me. He says he had become a good "broadcaster" but not a good communicator. We have lots of connections but not much depth in those connections. Much of his addiction focused on social media and people thinking the experience was not complete without tweeting or blogging it. I have a bit of that and ironically, it actually pushes me to be a bit more productive. After all, I would not want to blog that I sat on the couch all day.

The second point is we are often persona's in social media and not real. For most people (including me), that would be true. In Social media, we present only one side of ourselves. Not deliberate dishonesty - just normal public presentation similar to shaving before a meeting. We do not let the world see our vulnerable and weak sides.

I have previously written about email - the greatest productivity invention in the past 30 years and one of the greatest productivity killers. And portable email (Blackberry etc.) enhances the good and the bad of email.

If I have any tech addiction it would be to email.

I found it ironic(seems to be lots of irony in this post) that a number of the tools he suggests are software programs. Program that can do things like block certain sites, track how long things take, limit time on certain sites etc.

I did not actually do the program but I am certain that it would be one way to help break the cycle (perhaps I do not feel addicted enough yet). His steps:

1 - Re-Think - what is the impact to technology on your life.
2 - Re-boot - take stock of your digital intake (he has a scorecard to do this)
3 - Re-Connect - focus on restoring live and real relationships
4 - Re-Vitalize - learn healthy ways of interacting and using technology. Life is about balance.

Seiberg was a CBS and CNN reporter so knows how to write. The book is well written.


At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Having only read what you wrote about Daniel Sieberg's book, I suspect he writes very much the way I feel about this subject.

Without wanting to pontificate (as much as would love to), I just want to mention one of my oft used (but much scoffed at) suggestion:

One should use Blackberries and all similar "smart" communications devices for everything they can do...except for email (or instant messaging)...unless one's life - or immediate livelihood depends on it. (Of course, I'm not suggesting that we should not use email, per se, only that we should process email at specific, dedicated times during a day.)

Just because electrons travel with the speed of light, we must not allow ourselves to be driven at that speed. Allowing ourselves to be accessible 24-7 and expecting to respond to every bit and byte instantly, ruins productivity...and our lives.


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