Saturday, February 22, 2014

I know you think you're multi-tasking, but....

What has happened to us? I take Little Miss M out to dinner and her first question is: "Are you going to bring my iPad?". She seemed legitimately shocked when I told her that I was not bringing it because I thought we could talk. After all, it was just the two of us and that does not happen too often. As we sat at a nice place waiting for dinner, she asked me if she could play on my phone. I went to tell her no, until I realized that I had in fact checked Facebook and email at least three times since we sat down. I thought I had been carrying on a conversation with her and been there in the moment, so she wouldn't have even noticed. Oh, she noticed and she called me out on it.

Have you ever thought about how many times you check your smartphone, your computer or your tablet when you are supposed to be engaging with a real person? How many times have you been talking to someone you truly cared about on the phone while reading your email? Do you allow phones at the dinner table? Do you have different rules for the adults and the children?

The truth of the matter is, you are probably like me. You are probably very busy and have multiple balls in the air that you are juggling. Your Facebook connections are as real and as important as your sister calling you on the phone, but you really cannot do them both at the same time -- no matter how good you are. I've been on both ends of this. I've been the multi-tasker. I'm ashamed to say it's usually my husband who catches the brunt of it. He tries to call during the day when the kids are at school and the baby is napping, and I love to hear from him. However, it's also the time of day that I'm trying to get so much done on the computer without little hands banging on the keys! I catch myself being distant or not listening and most times I shut my computer. The kids have called me out on checking Facebook during a family meal. I've also been on the receiving end. Disconnecting myself from technology and taking a phone call or making a phone call to connect with someone I care about only to hear them multi-tasking on the other end.

You see, you can tell. We can hear the elongated silences, the clicking of keys, the "uh-huhs" offered in the wrong place. You may think you are the Master of Multi-Tasking, but in reality you are human. You may be able to simultaneously cook dinner, fold laundry, help with math homework, and a million other tasks, but I really don't think anyone can carry on a meaningful conversation while being plugged in to technology.

Take a week and pay attention to yourself. Technology is a great tool and a very useful, even necessary item in our lives, but as Voltaire said "with great power comes great responsibility."  We must be responsible about our meaningful and important life connections or we will certainly ruin them.

We'd love your thoughts on this topic. How do you balance technology and personal connections in your life? Leave us some feedback in the comments below.

Amanda is trying to disconnect more and more, and you know what? The world keeps on turning even if she only checks her phone once an hour!

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