I am always wondering how technology (more specifically smartphones, social media and email) affects us. I read a number of articles on the subject and many address multitasking and the affects it has on stress levels and our ability to focus. As well as how we use our memory when relying on technology. Research reported in a Scienceline article "A mindless future" says people who multitask (working while checking emails & surfing the web) are more stressed, more distracted and they cannot recall much of the information they just had in front of them. Which means less productive. I can say this is true for me. I definitely feel more stressed when I’m doing five things at once. I am flying through the day hoping I do not forget anything along the way because I couldn't give it my full attention from the beginning. Most of the time I need to rethink and reorganize a few times through out the day. Wouldn't it be more efficient and less stressful to focus on one thing at a time? Yes, but then I couldn't do work on my computer, while adding music to my favorite Pandora station, skimming through my Facebook account, reading my favorite blog, adding another photo to Instagram, tweeting, texting, talking on the phone, and stressing myself out!
Good news is we can change. A recent study reported in Forbes article "Are Smartphones Making Us Dumber", Gloria Mark at UC Irvine and collaborating U.S. Army scientists produced another intriguing study involving e-mail. The study took thirteen people and would not let them check their emails for 5 days. In the end all the people in the study were less stressed and able to focus more. That’s just from five days of no email, cutting back on one distraction! Obviously at work we can’t stop checking emails but we can focus on one thing at a time. I want less stress in my life so I’m trying to cut back on all the distractions and focus on the task at hand. Although, it’s a little harder than I thought.
The article "Is Technology Making Us Dumber" shows that we are using our memory less and relying on technology more. Even when we use our phone/computer to search something, we remember where to search for it but we aren’t fully retaining the information we sought out in the first place. I feel like technology is getting me information quicker and easier, so I really don't have to rely on my brain. . . that’s great until I actually have to use it! I text so much I forget how to spell when Im writing on a piece of paper. And what would you do if you got lost and your GPS wasn't working? Many people don’t know how to get around town! They haven’t been familiarizing themselves with the roads and directions, they've just been following a GPS. They say that we are losing our ability to solve real life problems. We can change this by relying on our memory more and using technology as a back up.
People seem to be very tightly wound and stressed out. I think we all need to slow down and take a deep breath. Do one thing at a time. You are in control. You can make small changes to your life to avoid adding stress to it. It might mean putting down the technology every once in awhile. To me, it’s not a matter of how technology is affecting us as much as how we use it. I think we should use it more as a tool than a life support. We can always set that tool down, enjoy life and live in the present moment.