The world we live in is rapidly changing. We have more choices than ever before. We have more options for how we spend our time, how we spend our money, the media we consume, and the people we interact with. We are also more connected than ever before through Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and smart phones.
In many ways, these are good developments.
But they can also make it very difficult to live the kind of life we want to live. A life that’s productive. A life full of rich relationships and experiences.
Our Hyperconnected World
Earlier today I posted a review of the book, The Church of Facebook. In it author Jesse Rice talks about Continuous Partial Attention – This is the impulse to constantly check Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. It’s motivated by the desire to not miss anything. It creates an artificial sense of crisis. It can cause a person to become over stimulated and unable to focus on what’s right in front of him.
Know anyone like that?
Ever stop what you’re doing for just a second to check phone, text, or email messages and then find yourself still there 20 minutes later?
Ever login to Facebook, look up, and realize you’ve been there for an hour and have no idea where the time went?
You’re not alone. I struggle to live well in this hyperconnected world too. See my post from last month – Help! I’m Drowning in the Stream.
The Flash Flood
Twenty years ago people had to guard against wasting too much time in front of the TV and from telephone interruptions. Ten years ago email started to suck away at our time and attention. But those are a drop in the bucket compared to today’s continual stream of Facebook updates, Tweets, texts that come into our computers and now follow us everywhere we go on our smart phones.
Later Rice writes that in our hyperconnected society “life can all to often feel like little more than a knee-jerk reaction to urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, and decisions.”
If you don’t know what is most important to you, if you don’t know what you want to accomplish in 2010, and if you don’t have a plan to get there the odds are overwhelming that you’re just going to float down the stream of endless messages.
How are you dealing with the new reality of hyperconnection? Drowning? Staying afloat?
Do you have goals for 2010 and a plan to live intentionally rather than reactively?
I’ve been doing a lot of work and experimentation in the last month with time management and social media management plans. It’s made a huge difference in my productivity and emotional well-being. I’ll be blogging more about that soon.