Think about it for a minute: smart technology can, in fact, slow us down. Since the wake of iPhones and tablets, we’ve become increasingly reliant on these little gadgets to the point where we shudder at the mere thought of going a day—or sometimes a waking hour—without them! We may believe this truth is ironic for something that is designed to speed our lives up and make our tasks “easier,” but there are alarming ways that smart technology can slow our minds down over time.
Back before the era of smart technology, we were quite adept at remembering phone numbers and important events. We had tangible guides, such as phone number and address books. We relied more on planners and wall calendars (although some people still use them today, but not as heavily) to keep up with special events and appointments. These manual techniques did our brains well because writing down things such as events and phone numbers helped lock them into our memories faster versus using a smartphone.
Once upon a time, the only “alert” we needed to rely on was an alarm clock to wake us up in the morning. Today, we literally use alerts for everything, even taking out the trash! But, before smart technology rapidly took over, we were fixated on checking our calendars for that girls’ night out or that eye appointment so that it stayed embedded in our memories. This actually served as a mental practice to strengthen our memories! But just think of how our brains have been impacted since we’ve become increasingly reliable on our smartphones reminding us to check our mailboxes!
Today, we depend on our smartphones to help us remember birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and work meetings. We hardly make the conscious effort to remember phone numbers because we are so quick to save them under our loved one’s names! Handing these tasks over to our smartphones, unfortunately, subjects us to mental laziness; it’s like we’ve let our phones do the thinking for us. But it’s not too late for us to delegate these tasks back to our brains. Let’s make the effort to remember important events, phone numbers, and even daily reminders, even if we have to physically write them down. Don’t worry; you don’t have to go back to using those vintage address books or planners—unless you really want to! Our memories will greatly benefit from this old school memorization practices.
OUR BRAINS ARE…BUFFERING…
Smart technology has grown increasingly rapid to the point where we find it nearly painful to wait 30 seconds until our desired YouTube video plays. Today, we’re all about immediate gratification and our smartphones are excellent at providing just that. But this instant gratification has cost us a few things: our attention spans, our patience, and our laser focus on things that matter.
We are so enamored at the idea of playing our favorite songs in just a few short “taps” and buying that sparkling dress we’ve been eyeing for months in just minutes, that waiting for anything we want seems daunting. We’ve gotten so accustomed to fulfilling our desires quicker than normal that our patience has diminished. And at work (or even when tending to important everyday tasks), our smartphones have become a primary distraction. With those mini-computers right next to our hands, we are so tempted to scroll through social media that we quickly lose focus on what we are supposed to be doing because our smartphones seem much more interesting and less intimidating than the task at hand. But we can break out of this habit by putting our phones out of sight or on silent. We can even give ourselves the incentive of engaging with our phones after our work is completed!
Our smartphones are wildly useful and practical in today’s world, but becoming too reliant upon them can slow our minds—and our performance—down. We should try putting them down and engaging our minds in the tangible world around us more often. Our brains thrive when we are more actively involved with the physical world.