What do you really need?

I noticed that I hadn’t written in a while and it wasn’t for lack of inspiration. It was because I didn’t have my laptop with me. I had become so used to typing that I felt uncomfortable writing my thoughts down on paper… and then I found myself thinking, how silly is that – I don’t ‘need’ a laptop to write!

I know a lot of people don’t like technology and complain about how intrusive it is in their lives, from mobiles ringing at the dinner table to more people reading from kindles and ereaders than holding a book. They yearn for a time before all this technology because they remember life was simpler without it. I definitely don’t feel the same about technology, I love it! I really think that it’s a good step forwards and I know that my life is easier because of it. But I do appreciate its easy to let technology get in the way and become something that we think we ‘need’  (like me ‘needing’ my laptop to write).

Even though I adore technology, I like to think that I make technology work for me. I’m happy to turn my mobile on silent and let an answer machine take the message, I’m happy that I’ve turned off all the notifications from social networking sites so I can check facebook as often or as little as I like, I’m happy to respond to emails when I’ve got the time (if it’s urgent they’ll call).

I know lots of people are given smart phone from work, so that you can check your emails from home and be contactable all the time. I know from my friends, rather than making life easier it just adds stress, especially those smart phones you can’t really turn off. If you are in a similar position, you could start taking technology breaks. Start small, put it on silent between 10pm and 8am, if that’s nice and easy for you, elongate the breaks. If it’s vital that you check your email at home, set a time to do it and stick to that time. The question really is: do you honestly ‘need’ to check your email as often as you do?

It might not be email for you, it could be social networking or your smart phone or you could have the perfect balance of technology. I wrongly felt like I ‘needed’ my laptop to write, but of course I didn’t and after the first few words on paper, my thoughts flowed just as easily as they do on my laptop. What do you feel like you ‘need’ but don’t really?

5 thoughts on “What do you really need?

  1. I agree – I always feel like I need my iphone. But I do remember years ago when we visited Cornwall for a certain someones birthday, and whilst there for a weeks holiday I had no signal what so ever. It was a panic at first, but ended up being so refreshing. I felt free for the first time in a long time. I answered to no one and nothing except myself, and I think that is so easily lost these days with the need to be available 24/7, to be taken notice of 24/7 tweeting or facebook status updating – making sure everyone still knew ‘you were there’. But sometimes it is good to let go, be silent and just be on your own. Enjoying ones own solitary company.

    Yes, I’m going to be switching my Iphone off tonight, and listening to me and only me.

    Thanks for the reminder of what’s important.

  2. So true so true! It’s why I love cornwall so much – no internet, no phone reception so even if I have an urge to plug in, I can’t 🙂

    I worked for a guy in a fast-paced industry and he only checked his emails at 9am, 12 and 4pm. Again he said, if it’s that urgent, the clients will call. Love it.

    Next step – go away for the weekend, without your phone! How scary is that?!

    Thanks Fiona, great reminder.

    Ps Rhi – That was a brilliant week!

  3. Hi, I was just searching in google about disadvantages of a blackberry and what was the experience of people who gave up on it. I own a blackberry for past three years and though it has helped me tremendously for work, I think currently with new challenges in life (full time work,marriage,recently starting my Ph.D) I am getting increasingly irritated with myself and how much time I spend in opening each and every email, checking BBM and saying silly ‘hi’ messages without much substance…
    I remember what my mother said the other day ” even if you have a basic phone, you are still going to hear the same voice. Having a blackberry won’t ensure that you will hear something magical”
    I stumbled upon your article and I really feel I am thinking on the right lines. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Amruta,

      It sounds like you’re making some great decisions to claim back time and space in your life. Our time is the only thing we can never get back so making decisions to use our time in the best way we know how is always going to be a great decision.

      I don’t know many people who have given up their smart phones (possibly because they’re very useful as well as very intrusive on our time). But what does it matter what works for other people? If it works for you – it still works!

      Have you tried an experiment to see what it would be like without your blackberry? You could give yourself a 2 week blackberry free trial. Use an old handset for 2 weeks and see how you get on. Or you may not need to completely give up your blackberry, but perhaps when you’re working or at home it could go straight into a special drawer (out of sight out of mind)? and setting scheduled times during the day when you will check your emails/voicemails might also help?

      Alternatively you could have already switched and be living a smart phone free life and loving it. Please keep me updated on how it goes – I’m very interested.

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