I have long been accused of being able to focus on a single task to the exclusion of anything else but I am also very good at focusing on the needs of others. I think much of my professional success can be attributed to understanding what others need to get their job done.
There are few creatures more focused on getting a particular task accomplished than a great egret. Yet I think modern humans might be challenging the great egret with their dedication to their smartphones.
I was at our neighborhood pool the other day with my granddaughter. While the water was not particularly warm, I was still having a ball swimming with my granddaughter. It was especially pleasing because she had just figured out how to swim in the deep end of the pool. That a good accomplishment to have under your belt if you are not quite six years old.
Over the few days I have been at the pool and on the beach with my granddaughter I have been amazed at how many people I have seen who cannot take their eyes off of their smartphones. That includes people sitting down on a lounge chair without hardly taking their eyes off of their phones and people walking onto the beach while looking at their phones.
These folks seem so enthralled by technology that they are letting it take the place of human interaction. Whether it is grandchild in a pool or a walk on the beach which cannot break their addiction to the smartphone, I feel sorry for them. Some plastic and silicon is a poor substitute for actually talking with people or immersing yourself in the environment you are supposedly trying to enjoy when you walk along the beach.
I am pretty active on Facebook as I use it as a method of marketing our Emerald Isle Travel guide and providing real time updates on weather and activities in the area. However, I long ago took Facebook off my smartphone. It was distracting and there was nothing time critical happening on Facebook that I needed to know when away from my computers.
It is a rare day that I send a text message or receive one other than the notifications that I have used my credit card or the alerts that I have an upcoming meeting. Most people that know me have learned that the best way to get me is calling me on the telephone either our home number or my cellphone number. The next best way is to send me an email. I typically check email three times a day at a minimum and more it I am working in my office. Someone on the phone get alls of my attenion.
I try to remember to check text messages a couple of times a day, but sometimes I forget. By limiting my interactions with technology, I am able to get more done and to do better work.
I am also able to devote 100% of my attention to important people like my granddaughter. To me, time with people has to have the top priority. My smartphone will be gone in two or three years and has no memory of the amount of quality time that I played with it. My granddaughter will long remember the evening with a bright moon in a dark blue sky when we swam together in the deep end of the pool.
Smartphones are technology that we should use when needed but to me it is little different than the lawn mower that I use to cut the grass. Our yard needs mowing because of all the rain we had in the middle of the summer of 2014. I typically mow early in the morning, but tomorrow I will not be mowing until my granddaughter is on her way home.
The yard will keep, granddaughters grow up.