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Life in the Technosphere, Part 1: Step Away from the Screen

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The culprit used to be television. We’d turn on the TV for company when we got home from work, eat dinner in front of the tube, and zone out for hours at night or on weekends, rather than “have a life.”

22JPDISCONNECT1-articleInlineToday it’s our smart phones. People no longer look up while walking; they’re too busy texting. Parks and nature trails, formerly inviolate sanctuaries, are now punctuated by one-way cell phone conversations. We believe we’re saving time and energy, toting a tiny interactive device with us everywhere (even into public restrooms). Being always “on” has never been easier or more of a boon to business.

Perhaps. As Aretha Franklin sings, “Who’s zoomin’ who?”

In reality, our mobile devices are running (and potentially ruining) our lives, not the other way around. We are consumers to the nth degree; our insatiable hunger feeds on an exponentially multiplying array of apps and ways to use them. We have information on demand, and it’s easy enough to skip the commercials. This infographic shows how Instagram reached one million users just two and a half months from launch; Facebook, the granddaddy of most social media, welcomed its millionth user a mere ten months after launch.

While reverse mortgage professionals obviously benefit from having the information they need at their fingertips to serve clients and prospects, too much of a good thing can have a deleterious effect on the human user. To unplug without compromising your mind, your time or your health, step away from the screen:

1. Eat in peace. Just as TV dinners did nothing for nutrition or personal connection, the same goes for today’s technology. Make mealtime sacred and screen-free. Release the focus on your reverse mortgage business and turn your attention instead to your dining companion(s), the flavors in your food, the artwork on your wall, or simply your own thoughts. If you catch yourself on a mental hamster wheel, try tuning in some serene, lyric-less music (which can also aid digestion).

2. Reclaim the outdoors. Take a hike, sans phone, and notice the beauty of nature. Isn’t it nice to hear birdsong instead of canned music?

3. Use the original Google. That would be your brain. Stuck for the name of the performance you saw at the theatre last week, or a riveting business article you read? Think! Replay events in your mind and discuss with a friend or colleague. You’re not only unplugging from technology; you’re helping to build your neural networks and enhance problem-solving capabilities, with perhaps a little real-time social connection in the bargain.

4. Nix the pillow talk. No one needs to be woken by a call or text message in the wee hours. Turn off your phone, bid it a good night, and leave it safely in the kitchen or hallway, where it will welcome you back with open data first thing tomorrow morning.

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