“The average person checks their smartphone 100-125 times per day.” “According to Zogby Analytics, 87% of Millennials say ‘My smartphone never leaves my side, night or day.’” These were two of the many statistics shared by recent Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club speaker, Daniel Sieberg, who is Global Head of Media Outreach at Google News Labs, an official spokesperson for Google, and author of a book focused on finding work-life-technology balance, The Digital Diet.
Sieberg’s point is that our relationship with technology and our digital devices have become up close and personal. Smart phones are much more than “phones.” They’re extensions of who we are as people, holding onto our precious photos, social networks, calendars, credit cards, contacts, and other personal information. Sadly, we’re now seeing people risk their lives to save their devices, like a 22 year old man who jumped onto the subway tracks and was struck by a train while trying to retrieve his dropped phone.
While technology is rapidly reshaping, advancing, and bringing the world closer together, Sieberg emphasized the key to our success and happiness lies in understanding our most valuable asset is time. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day. With most of us, many of those minutes are spent “broadcasting” and managing our image online; and we forget the power and importance of face to face communication. The unintended consequence is that we are giving just as much of ourselves to acquaintances as to our loved ones.
In his book and presentation, Sieberg offered helpful tools, like a Virtual Weight Index, and a number of tips that I’ll be using. For example, next time you go out for dinner, have everyone stack their cell phones in the middle of the table. The first one to touch their phone covers the bill!
Another suggestion is to use a traditional alarm clock and charge your phone outside of your bedroom. Creating physical and mental separation has been proven to help sleep patterns and will afford you time to properly wake up in the morning, before jumping into emails. Understanding how and where you’re spending minutes online will help you make better choices with your time, increase your productivity, and strengthen your personal relationships. I’m going on a digital diet…are you?