A Case For Putting Down Your Phone.

First, watch this.

I showed this to my newspaper staff last week, and then issued a challenge to them: track their tech use for five days. How often were they looking at their phones, how many tabs did their browsers have open that weren’t relevant to the task at hand, was their tech use purposeful or rudderless?

I made a list on the board of all the things I want to accomplish, goals I’ve set for myself this year, and shared how my tech use often impedes my longed-for achievements.

I use two apps to try and wrangle my phone into something to serve me, rather than something I serve. Moment notifies me every 15 minutes I log on my phone and sends me a weekly accounting of which apps I’m using the most. ATracker Pro, when I use it, helps me to see how I’m spending my day, with categories I create. Then I get a pie chart of how much time during the week I’ve spent doing things like working, reading, practicing the piano.

I’m grateful for technology’s benefits. Without it, I wouldn’t talk to my sisters everyday. I wouldn’t be able to see photos of friends far and wide. I wouldn’t be able to stay current with the news I prefer to read. I wouldn’t be able to blog.

But there really is a point where, like I asked my newspaper staff, I have to wonder: are we using the tech? Or is the tech using us?

The bright side, I learned from my own efforts and from my newspaper staff last week, is that we have the power to choose how we use our technologies.

Try it for five days–make a list of what do you want to accomplish, and then honestly assess whether your tech use is helping or hindering those accomplishments. You might be surprised at what you can do when you put your mind to it, and set your phone down.

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