How Much Does Tech Influence Your Life? Turn It All Off For a Day and Find Out

When I dive into a new project for a client, I have a tendency to be a bit myopic.

I’ll focus all my energy into the architecture and the code, and before I know it, it’s many hours later, and my voicemail is full and my inbox is overflowing. I’ve been getting better about that, but it still gets me to thinking if what I do by accident from time to time is something I should be doing on purpose once in a while.

Think about it. How many times each day do we check our email, update our Facebook status, use our cell phone, text a friend or just futz around with new wallpapers or pics of the cat? What would happen if once every month, we picked a day where we shut it all down? Would we lose touch with everyone in our lives? Would we miss meals? Would the Earth stop spinning on its axis, tumble through the solar system and faceplant itself directly into the sun?

The differences between life with tech and life without tech are dramatic and meaningful. For instance:

Going to the movies — Instead of reserving tickets online and hitting the self-serve kiosk, we’d have to stand in line at the box office and pay for our tickets by hand. While the guy at the box office would be thankful to see a human being on the other side of the window, we’d probably feel sorry for him knowing that one day his job will be lost to Fandango and PayPal.

Meeting friends for lunch — Without my phone to act as my GPS, I might not find that new Mexican place my friends wanted to try. And if I was running late, I wouldn’t be able to text them to tell them I’d be late. Moreover, if they had to cancel because their sister, who has been pregnant for as long as you have known her, went into labor, they’d have no way to tell me.

Actually, with all the things that could go wrong, I might wind up missing the lunch date completely and having a hot dog from a street vendor as I wander around trying to figure out where I parked in the first place. They might find me in the fetal position under a park bench muttering “chimichanga” the next day.

Missing “her” call or email — Everyone who is single has that one person they’ve been wanting to take out on a date for months, but they’re schedules never match up. With my luck, I’d get the call or email that her schedule just happened to open up unexpectedly that day and could we meet for dinner. And it would go to voicemail unanswered. And I’d look disinterested and rude.

Okay. I’m done. I’m going to charge my phone and buy an extra battery to keep in my pocket just in case. In fact, forget I ever mentioned this. I’m going to work on a new app that wires my email and smartphone directly into my cerebral cortex. Don’t email me for a few days. I’ll be busy.

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