I believe there’s a contradiction regarding technology – couriers, fax machines (businesses still use them!), overnight services, assembly lines, etc., supposed to help us gain time in our lives, but in fact saw us more hurried than ever before.
I myself marvel at how days seem to begin earlier and earlier. Before, only doctors and nurses were up in the wee hours, but now, that’s often when the trash men pass, and when cities really start to wake up and begin their non-stop activity.
Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson treated a similar subject in a recent article entitled, “What are you doing”? In it he stresses our doingness, how we string one activity after another after another, often on autopilot, without really thinking, without really being present… as if we were computers! He says that we are more stressed and driven than ever and he goes on to say that the answer to this conundrum is in “how”.
Actually, when you think about it, computers almost have a human side to them. When our access provider has a lull making our computers slow – that is the time to take a break. It is like the computer does not want to overstress us. Thing is, these lulls or breaks in Internet connection usually have the opposite effect on us. Instead of taking the moment to breathe and re-center, we get hotter under the collar as the delay could possibly have a chain reaction…
Rick reminds us that when we feel pressure, it is a sign that we are under stress and need to breathe. Either we have too much on our plates and need to scrape off the non-essential, or we need to stop feeling responsible for what we have no power over, i.e. computers, messengers, and so forth. Computers and technology are our tools and not the other way around.
He also says to do one thing at a time in a mindful manner. If we have outside activities that help us focus – yoga, meditation, playing music or doing art – we will be able to bring that focus with us to our jobs. That would mean less multi-tasking. We may sometimes still need this, but that is what we have computers for so let’s hand it over to them so that we can be free to experience everything we do and feel the buzz from completing it before starting something new.