Technology has been great for humanity in so many ways.
When we get nostalgic about the past we often overlook the incredible progress humans have made.
Just thinking back 10 years it’s crazy how much better mobile technology has gotten. Internet speeds have increased. Any question you have can be answered in seconds. Think about the reality of that and how humans, even a decade ago, didn’t have that kind of access to information.
But technology has also brought some negative changes. One is the seemingly never ending availability of people. We are “available” literally 24 hours a day. That change and expectation has come on fast in the last decade. And it’s not really a good thing.
Over the last decade I’ve tried to make myself “less available”. It’s been a good thing. For me and for those I work with and am close with in my personal life.
Here are a few tips for taking this on…
It can feel like you’re letting others down if you’re not responding instantly. That’s typically how we, ourselves, feel when others don’t respond right away to our emails, texts and calls.
But I’ve found a neat little trick that seems to make all parties happy.
It’s not the speed that is the key to responding. It’s the reliability. This might be you blocking off specific time each day to respond to the most important messages. You can determine what fits the criteria for most important. You can even allow your closest friends and family access to you if they call you twice in a row with emergencies. But rarely are there huge emergencies. Saying so is just an excuse to get a fast response from someone.
People, even those closest to you, will quickly understand that you will respond every morning or every evening to messages. They will be fine with that. The consistency you build yourself sends the right message to others.
Eliminate Social Media
Several years ago I deleted all my connections on Facebook. I removed all profile information. I still have the account for a very small number of work-related requirements. I never really got into Instagram. I’ve also pretty much given up Twitter. I haven’t posted in ages and I rarely see value in checking the site.
I think I stopped using Facebook even before the mobile app came out. I used to check Twitter on my phone a lot. Now it’s not on my phone and after a short time I quickly realized I didn’t need it.
This also requires removing the browsers from your phone.
Social media trains immediacy. But there are almost zero things in life that require immediate need. And if you convince yourself otherwise you’re probably never going to get out of the cycle of being too available.
Cease Responding To Negativity
Do you feel like you’re caught in a cycle of negativity? It could be that you’re engaging in digital communication with negative people. Texts, group texts, social media, etc. There is nothing that say you need to engage in conversations that are negative. Even with family.
If someone makes you feel bad, don’t communicate with them.
You have the power to control your availability. In the early ’90s, Bill Murray was finding that his agent was calling his house multiple times per day. There were all kinds of opportunities and questions and complaints and more. It was too much. Bill was angry. He was anxious. He wasn’t a good person. So finally he fired his agent and setup a 1-800 number. He would check it when he felt like it. He’d listen to the calls and if he liked an opportunity he would call back.
And his career flourished.
Things also went fairly well in his personal life. He had more freedom. He was nicer and happier. He was barely available. And this was only in the time of the telephone and maybe an answering machine.
It’s even worse today. But it’s still possible to overcome.