How to live a happier life with technology

I just walked through a lounge filled with about 30 students. You’d expect it to be a bit noisy and rowdy, but to the contrary, it was very quiet. Each student was sitting down, whether crossed-legged or sprawled across a leather sofa, with a laptop/notebook computer in their lap, hooked up to the wireless internet, half of them having their ears covered with ear phones, listening to music in their MP3 players, which the other half had cellphones either right beside their ears or in their pockets, turned on. They are messaging other people through MSN, checking out what their friends are doing on facebook/friendster/QQ or twitter, trying to connect to others but ironically more connected like an appliance. 🙂 It’s important to remember that technology is supposed to be an enabler, to live a better life, not a disabler!

Another time, a few years ago I was walking down the street, came to crossroads — lots of traffic — but big wide open fields. There was this guy standing across the street, waving his arms madly and looked almost like he was crazy. Until a minute later when I realized he had one of these ‘bluetooth’ phones attached to his ears. Made me think and realized, maybe the homeless people you saw 20 years ago walking on the streets talking to themselves weren’t crazy, they just some of the first people to have bluetooth phones 🙂

And, yet another time, I knew four guys that went into a crowded chatroom (on the internet), and all lived in the same apartment. Eventually only the four of them were left in this chatroom, and they continued ‘talking’ (typing) for another 2 hours. Until one of them realized, they were the only four left – and they were all in the same apartment and should just get out of their bedrooms and talk to each other. Instead, they laughed, and continued chatting on the internet for another two hours.

The internet has become an exceptionally good time waster. So how do you live a better life, almost immediately?


1. Check your e-mail/blog/twitter/facebook/etc once a day, maximum 30 minutes.

Set aside a time in the morning or evening when you do this. I know it will be hard, but it will free up so much of your time it will be incredible. And don’t spend more than 30 minutes. Unless you run your own business (in which you should pay someone to do this for you), you should talk to people face to face.

2. Eat before checking your e-mail!

Yes, it’s true. Your e-mail will still be there after breakfast. J It’s not going to disappear, especially the 100 spam e-mails you got. Eat something first. Start your day off right, not ‘write’! (haha, nice pun, eh?)

3. Choose to talk to people face to face.

It is all to easy to get involved in ‘online’ romances, MSN’ing friends, checking out the latest sports scores, but remember, when you are doing this, you aren’t living, you are literally plugged in like an appliance, not moving, sitting in front of a box! Would you rather kiss or hug your computer? Or kiss and hug a real person? Just because you can make out in a game like the Sims or Second Life, doesn’t mean you are doing that in real life. Get out and life life!

4. Reduce your cellphone/blackberry/PIM/Pilot/etc usage to 30 minutes day. Let’s say at night time. It’s funny, in the early 90’s – you were considered rich and powerful if you had a laptop/cellphone/or pager. Now, you are considered rich and powerful if you don’t have to respond to every single e-mail/cell phone call/beep or blip that comes your way.

5. Go on a technology ‘fast’ for a week, or at least 3-4 days.

People go on food fasts for days every year – and it’s to clean out their system – give their body a chance to ‘restore’ itself. When is the last time you went without e-mail for 3 days, let alone 1 week? Try going without (major) technology for a week, specifically television, anything to do with the internet/e-mail, and a cellphone (a regular land-line is ok). Go out to the park. Go for a walk. Go camping. Go white water rafting. Go skiing. See what it feels like. You’ll give your brain a rest and feel recharged when you want to get back into the tech of things!

Anyways, above are a few quick tips to help get you back on a happy lifestyle track. I hope you enjoy my anecdotes, and feel free to leave comments! Have a great day!

© 2008

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