Today’s post is by Deirdre Maloney, author of Bogus Balance: Your Journey to Real Work/ Life Bliss. (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
Well there is just a whole lot to love about technology, yes?
Those emails, those texts, those phone calls… they play a key role in our ability to get our work done. They help us stay in touch. They help us get the answer we need to virtually any question… immediately.
Of course, there’s a downside about our tech as well. It can distract us, break our focus, turn our good intentions to finish a project or have a meaningful conversation upside down.
And then what happens? We feel behind, we feel stressed out, we feel disconnected from those who are actually around us. It can happen in a single moment – right when the unexpected ding signaling an incoming message hits our inbox or phone.
The Truth about the Ding
The ding has a whole lot of power over us. All too often we find ourselves jumping with a somewhat adrenaline-like start the second we hear it. And there’s a reason for it – a reason we put everything else down to see what it is and who’s behind it.
Now we claim the reason is because we may need to handle something immediately. We claim the reason is because it allows us to keep our inboxes manageable. We claim the reason is because that’s what’s expected of us these days.
And to be fair, some of these reasons are true – some of the time. But there’s another reason that ding keeps us hopping – one we don’t really allow ourselves to think about.
We really, truly love the ding.
Think about it.
When someone contacts us—especially when it’s off-hours from our usual time together—it means we’re needed. It means we’re important. It means someone is thinking of us. And, as a bonus, it means we’ve got something to distract us from the thing we don’t want to do at the moment.
The ding is like a wrapped gift that hasn’t yet been opened. It represents something new to us, a mystery, even for just that moment before we find out who and what is behind it. After all, in the seconds it takes us to locate that phone and look at that screen it could be anyone. About anything.
For many of us, technology has become the thing that keeps us feeling relevant. It’s our mechanism to check in, feel connected and feel important. Which makes ignoring the ding for the moment so that we can focus on whatever (or whoever) is right in front of us pretty difficult.
To be clear, there’s no judging here. We’re all in this new, ding-loving tech reality together. The important thing is to just get real about why we keep the phone on over dinner or during that big meeting.
After all, let’s face it – adrenaline is kind of nice.
Solving Our Ding Obsession
The first step to getting our power back from the ding (and, therefore, less stress and more fulfillment) is to own that we make a choice about the power we give it in our lives.
We decide to respond to the ding, to take us out of what we’ve intended to do which leads us to fall behind, to stress more, to connect less with those in front of us. And then we make excuses as though we don’t have a choice.
If you find yourself constantly checking to see who’s responded to your latest social media post or jumping at the sound of an incoming text, then fine. But be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it.
Know that it’s not just about being there when it’s important, but just being there – being available whenever anyone shoots any bit of information your way. Know you do it because it feels good to be needed or wanted or just to be in the game.
We all need to own how much that part of us that wants to be important and loved and “liked” is running the show.
Once we own it, we can plan for it. We can decide just how much power we’re willing to give the ding. We can turn off the phone if we have to; minimize the email screen which will then help us get back to the business of getting things done, of feeling accomplished, of enjoying each moment more.
In the end, that’s what makes life that much more meaningful. That much more successful.
That much happier.
– Deirdre Maloney is a bliss builder, helping people find their truth and live happier, more successful lives, through her work as a published author, national speaker, and proud president of her training and facilitation company Momentum LLC. Her books include Bogus Balance: Your Journey to Real Work/Life Bliss, Tough Truths: The 10 Leadership Lessons We Don’t Talk About, and The Mission Myth. For more information on Deirdre, visit www.makemomentum.com and www.bogusbalance.com.
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