If you were observing the behaviour of someone in their home, and they went to their front door six times an hour – all through the day – to check if there was any mail on the mat, I think you’d be forgiven for doubting their state of mind. This would be pretty extreme behaviour, although just about excusable if you were awaiting important exam results, say. Not every day, though.
However, substitute email in-box for front door mat, and I bet many of us could be guilty of acting somewhat obsessively when it comes to checking whether anyone has contacted us.
Technology CAN be a wonderful thing, but it may also consume us, turning what should be well-deserved downtime into a life where we feel a need to be on call 24 hours a day, not going anywhere without a cellphone, feeling a need to log-in to email multiple times a day, and frittering away time with Facebook and Twitter.
These channels of communication all have their place, of course. I’m no Luddite, and overall I’m certain we’re better connected than unconnected.
I just think, though, that there’s much to be said for occasionally switching off. Until I made some adjustments to my iPhone, for example, it was waking me up in the night with a ‘plink’ when someone else had commented on a Facebook entry to which I’d added something earlier. I mean, how ridiculous. I’d admired someone’s hat, then was actually woken up when others also thought it was snazzy headgear. Sheesh.
You owe it to yourself to make opportunities to be calm during the course of the day – to relax and rest – but this is unlikely to happen when you’re on tenterhooks waiting for one gadget or another to bleep its way into your consciousness. If you get a chance, turn it all off for a while. You may just like it. Remember: thirty years ago, that’s how everyone lived.