Archives for posts with tag: too much technology

For those out there with exploding inboxes taking up way too much of your time, check out TED’s Chris Anderson’s Email Charter. I don’t agree with everything written there or the overall concept of such curt email etiquette, but I certainly agree with #10:

10. Disconnect!
If we all agreed to spend less time doing email, we’d all get less email! Consider calendaring half-days at work where you can’t go online. Or a commitment to email-free weekends. Or an ‘auto-response’ that references this charter. And don’t forget to smell the roses.

For the jet-setting types running organizations and toting a smart phone into the toilet just to clean out their inbox, the Email Charter probably has worthy application.

The prevailing idea is that shorter, direct, more thoughtful emails are more efficient and easier to respond to. Anderson makes a great reference to Mark Twain in this Fast Company article about the charter: Twain once apologized in a letter, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Then again, maybe the charter is simply a way to excuse big bosses like Mr. Anderson for being jerks in their emails by writing next to nothing in response or nothing at all.

A few other pointers that weren’t included in the Charter are unsubscribing from useless newsletters, using tools like Google’s Priority Inbox to sort mail more efficiently, turning email off on vacation, or how about throwing that smart phone in the garbage disposal!

In any case, less time using e-mail can only be a good thing, so take a look at the Charter and apply what works for you — and add my #11 to the list, “be kind and courteous even if it takes an extra four seconds.”

Logging out now…

For those of you south of the equator or for anyone lucky enough to get a warm, sunny winter day in January, there’s never a bad time for a picnic. Rainy? Stormy? Living in subzero temperatures? Just have it indoors on your living room floor. Snowing? Sunny, but chilly? Make some hot chocolate and fill up the thermoses – the cold is surprisingly bearable and the snow even prettier with a hot drink in one hand and a fresh cookie in the other. Go crazy. Dunk the cookie in the hot chocolate. 😉

This past weekend I baked some cookies, pulled on a sweater and headed out with a couple roast beef sandwiches, drinks and some friends to the park (forgive me, I do live in a climate warm enough to comfortably take the picnic outside every once in awhile in winter). The pleasure of enjoying a meal or snack in the outdoors or simply in a creative way – like on that blanket spread across your living room floor – jazzes up the daily practice we call eating and makes a regular weekend lunch a little more special. No television, blackberry, iPhone or laptop required.

To sweeten up your picnic, below is my recipe Oatmeal Nut Chocolate cookies.

3/4 c. margarine
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar (or a little less if too sweet)
1 c. brown sugar (or a little less if too sweet)
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. ground cloves
2 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. white chocolate chips (or regular chocolate, or raisins)
Handful of sliced almonds and/or pecans

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Mix margarine with about half the flour, brown sugar, sugar, egg, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. Mix until fully combined, then add the rest of the flour and stir in the oat and chocolate chips. Make dough balls and take a pecan  and press into the balls as you flatten them slightly before placing on greased tray. For the sliced almonds place them like a pinwheel and flatten like before (see pic below). Bake 10-12 min. or until edges are turning golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool about 10 minutes. Then immediately place in airtight containers to keep ’emsoft!

Even the doctors agree. Turning off electronics might make you have a better day. Or so they say over at WebMD in the short advice article 10 Ways to Improve your Day in Just 5 Minutes.

#9 on the list states >>  Turn off your electronics. Just because we live in a wired world doesn’t mean you need to stay connected every minute of every single day. Staring at computer screens and electronics all day long can zap your energy and encourage inactivity. So log off your email, phones, and Internet (yes, social networking web sites count, too). This is especially important to allow you to unwind and relax before bed.

Couldn’t agree more. Interesting the part about logging off before going to bed. Not a bad tip to promise yourself at least a quiet hour just before hitting the hay. Made me realize I naturally adhere to an “after 8” rule where the computer is almost always off by 8 p.m. or earlier. That’s some sacred time there for reading, watching a movie, the late news, a glass of wine, a walk with the dog or just playing a game before hitting the hay.

The rest of the list was pretty good too, besides the making the bed bit. I’m not convinced fixing up the pillows will really improve my day all that much. But who would think to sniff a lemon when the going gets tough. The wise ol’ Japanese found that they have anti-inflammatory properties and may fight stress. Check out this post for a few thoughts about that.

Logging out now.

In a recent issue of the International Herald Tribune Magazine, a selection of some very smart people were recruited to have their say about “Too Much Information?”

A few spoke directly to what this blog is all about – embrace technology with some caution, use it with your brains and don’t overdo it. Good to know we’re in admirable company when we decide to question the overuse of computers and gadgets in our lives.

At the same time, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy called technology his “ally” and the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson called it “liberating.”  The editor of Le Monde, Sylvie Kauffmann described it as more of a menace.

The English-Indian-American novelist, Pico Iyer asked why is it that all our tools of connection leave us feeling so frazzled, disconnected and alone?

The image comes to mind of millions of lonely people spending more time hooked up with a computer and cell phone than anything else.

Iyer writes further: “It’s only by stepping away from our machines, after all, that we can begin to see how best to make use of them. Technology has given use the world; it’s up to us to now see what we can and will bring to technology.”

By stepping away and detaching from our pods of technology we are just human again and free to think and wonder on our own.

So the smart people had their say and though not uniform in their feelings of course, the message to me was clear… thinking about technology and our role with it is an exercise that keeps us the independent thinking reasoning human beings that we are. Questioning how we use it and when we use it is far better than mindless texting, surfing and typing without ever a second thought.

In other words… step back to think about you and your relationship with your gadgets every once in awhile and of course, take the time to log off.

Logging off now.