The Real Truth: Technology Isn’t Making You as Productive As You Think

I saw the (original) “Footloose” movie last month – for the first time. Crazy, huh? But that’s a whole ‘nother story.


In one of the final scenes, a group of kids are awkwardly standing around in a large warehouse – the site of their prom – and no one is leaving that circle to make the first move on the dance floor.


At first glance, something about the scene took me aback. It wasn’t the horribly poufy bangs. Or the blue eyeshadow. After a three second delay, I realized what was off — it was the lack of technology. These kids were awkwardly shifting weight from one foot to the other, chewing fingernails, etc. but sans the distraction that is so common in our modern-day society of cell phones, BlackBerries and iPhones. It was a little insulting to me that this was odd… see people with nothing to do but scuff their toes into the floor because there wasn’t someone at the other end of a data connection to text with, tweet at, or “like”.


But those kids may have been much more productive than any of us – with our collection of mobile devices – are today.


Not too long ago, I ran across this convicting terrific article in Fast Company. It discusses the media consumption habits of Americans and demonstrates our growing lack of ability to focus on tasks at hand.


I’ll admit, I am just as (or more) guilty than the next Joe. But I’d like to be better. I want to be effective in my actions, intentional in my focus, and present in my relationships. But being such definitely requires more of me than comes naturally.


I’ll probably be one of those idiots who falls in a fountain somewhere because I’m walking, talking and texting – all at once.


But I also recognize that I just need to put down the devices that start with an “i” every once in awhile.


As such, I have established a few places where I will NOT take my iPhone: bedroom, church and date night with my husband. And, I’m sure if I let him, the hubs would add a few more places to that list (I’m guessing car, Memorial Stadium, and restaurants would kick off the suggestion list).


I also have made a habit of turning my phone to vibrate when I get home for the day, so the hours between work and my kids’ bedtime are as free of distractions as possible.


It’s tough … and I don’t always win the battle … you know old habits die hard.


But I (and the others who are like me – and there are more of us than not) need to really ask ourselves: Though we may think it’s more productive to be doing six things at once, are we really making the most of every moment in this way? Or are we unable to truly devote the best of ourselves to any one area, because we’re trying to have a little bit of ourselves in many areas at once?




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