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Tuesday September 23rd 2014

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How connected are you and why?

These three men were sitting in the Austin Airport.  I looked over at them and was struck by the sight.  I imagined that they were all texting to each other.

How often do you check your mobile device?  And why?

There is a battle for our attention…for our focus …for our personal ‘bandwidth’.

When do you pull out your mobile device?

Checking for digital interaction (my email, Facebook and Twitter) is easy.  Easier than asking WHY we’re checking.

I often check because I am bored or feel socially awkward.  But then I get pulled into a business email or distracted by a post….or follow a link to something.  After a few minutes I look up and minutes have passed…..with me in the hand-held-unit-zone.  [55 minutes are spent on Facebook daily by the typical user]

Checking the mobile device has replaced the cigarette break.  It’s a self contained activity that sends a social signal to the surrounding world, “I am busy, don’t interact.”

I love being able to interact quickly when I have to.  But I am struggling to limit that interaction….so that I don’t just read a text about the smell of roses…but actually stop to smell them in person.

Tim Ferris, who wrote the book The 4-Hour Work Week suggests that you start each day by deliberately NOT checking email.  This is what he suggests:

  1. Put an auto-responder on your email that tells people that you’re not answering email until Noon (or some designated time) also include in the auto responder that if it’s an emergency that they can reach you on your cell phone.
  2. Don’t check your email until the designated time.  Then only work on it for an hour.
  3. Instead of checking email first thing in the morning, dig into a project that you want to move forward.  Enjoy the lack of distractions and the satisfaction of progress.

I’ll just check Facebook for a moment.

A good friend of mine recently confessed that her new years resolution was to update her Facebook status only once a day.  She sheepishly said, “I haven’t been able to do that yet.”  [60 million status updates are posted daily on Facebook]

There is a lot of entertainment in this type of distraction and an occasional exhilarating moment, however when you finally look up from the screen and a few hours have passed and you have yet to move a project forward…the distraction may not be worth the price (time).

We know how, but do we know why?

Chuck House was employee number 39 of Hewlett Packard.  He worked with the founders of that innovative Silicon Valley pioneering tech company.  He said that Bill Packard and Dave Hewlett complimented each other extremely well.  One would focus on how things were done and the other would focus on why things were done.

Mobile devices have progressed in the are of “HOW”.  But leave the WHY question largely unanswered.

How connected are you and why?

William Hall

About: william:
William Hall is an actor, trainer and improviser living in San Francisco, CA. He works with companies to engage and involve audiences at Trade Shows, Conferences and Training Sessions. He is a founder of BATS Improv and the author of The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers.

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One Response to “How connected are you and why?”

  1. Martin says:

    Like with any addiction, we start out experimentally. It’s only after you can’t get the drug or activity of choice that you feel the addiction in the form of withdrawal. Pleasure centers demand to be stimulated. But you can decide how to do that. Email is a gateway drug. Just say “no” IM!

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