“Leave things to their natural course, and do not interfere.” Lao-tzu
Cell phones, pagers, email, PDAs, voice mail, laptops, IPhones etc., etc., etc. If I see another person at a restaurant while with their kids or in the men’s room talking on a cell phone, I think I will scream. Whatever happened to a little privacy or personal time? Technology and the drive for 24/7 is creating a wedge in relationships today. More and more - people are expected to be available at the beck and call of their customers, suppliers, fellow employees, supervisors and anyone else who feels an urgent need to get in touch with them NOW.
Why is this so? Is it because:
I can’t answer any of the above questions for you. I can tell you however that this incessant drive toward faster responses and turnaround time for anything and everything is causing a great deal of stress and relationship disconnect for most people – which, if not managed successfully, contributes to burnout and the loss of connection and intimacy in our relationships.
Consider - the average person today in a relationships spends over 100 hours a month (that's over 2 weeks of time) surfing the internet, on their cell phone or playing with some type of technology. Compare this to the average couple today spends, on average, approx. 27 minutes a week (that's less than 2 hours a month) in sharing and intimate conversation (Not sex talk but just talking with each other). Get the picture????
Is (or has) your relationship suffered because of this “business/career technology” influence? Why not answer the following to see if your relationship is in jeopardy.
1. Are you spending less time together as a couple than you did last year? Five years ago?
2. Can you go out to dinner on a weeknight with your partner and leave your pager or cell phone at home?
3. When you are running errands on a Saturday, do you check your business voice mail?
4. Are you spending less time with your children than in the past?
5. When you go on vacation, are you in touch with your office: once – twice – every day?
6. Would you interrupt some important personal time for a business/career issue of any kind?
7. Do you lack time for yourself to: read, relax, play, travel, have a new hobby?
8. Do you feel like your life is out of balance?
9. Are you feeling increased stress lately? (However you choose to define lately)
10. Do you sometimes feel like just ‘chucking’ the whole thing and moving to Vermont or Fiji?
- We have nothing better to do with our time than work?
- We are running away from relationship challenges?
- We believe we are really that indispensable?
- We need to feel needed, validated and important at work?
- We are so afraid that if we miss an email or text message the world will end?
- We are becoming a society of workaholics?
- There is something missing in our lives, and we are trying to fill that void with work?
Sure, sure – I know - some of you are going to tell me, you need all of this stuff for important personal needs. Like if you forgot to get something at the grocery store you can call home for a reminder! Or you can page your twelve year old on the soccer field. What did we do for the last 100 years? We wasted more time? We got less done? Maybe so, but we also spent more time together sharing feelings, dreams and simple conversation and there was less stress. You decide which you would rather have: more money or a longer life – more fame (or power), or to know your children – a more successful business, or a successful relationship.
You ask – “Why can’t we have it all?” Sorry, it’s just not that kind of world. You have to choose your priorities and then honor them with integrity, courage and passion.
I'm not suggesting that you trash technology only that you consider its short and long term impact on your life, your relationships with those close to you and your inner peace and happiness. Think about it . . .
Copyright: 2/2011 Tim Connor, CSP - Connor Resource Group
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From: Tim Connor, CSP Celebrating 39 years serving clients worldwide in 23 countries. Tim is the best selling author of numerous international best selling books including - Soft Sell and 81 Challenges Smart Managers Face. His business mission is to help his clients increase their sales and improve their management focus, direction and effectiveness.