The techniques of artificial intelligence are to the mind what bureaucracy is to human social interaction. Terry Winograd, “Thinking Machines: Can there be? Are we?” “Information technology” could easily be substituted for “artificial intelligence” in Dr. Winograd’s quote. We become so attached to our technology that we think we can’t function without it. Rather than serve as the “assistant” it was intended to be, IT has become our master, dictating when and how we work and live. Here are four suggestions for reducing your reliance on information technology.
The more you think for yourself, the less satisfied you will be to allow technology to make decisions for you. Data analysis is invaluable in business, but your own brain should be the final judge. Keep in mental shape by practicing analytical skills: solve crossword puzzles, play bridge, learn a musical instrument, try sudoku.
IT has diluted creativity and discounted originality by offering tools such as “do-it-yourself” web design and “design a logo in 60 seconds”. Even if you usually hire experts for your artistic projects, develop your own creativity. There are many non-business activities that can showcase your imagination: handicraft (crocheting, knitting, needlepoint), writing, landscaping, painting, even home renovation.
There is growing concern that today’s younger generation has limited interpersonal skills because of its reliance on social media. The same deficiency can encroach upon small businesses. Customers become just another email address, Twitter account, or LinkedIn profile. Avoid this by connecting in person with your business contacts: meet at a Starbucks or other neutral location, remember a birthday or anniversary, forego the sales pitch at networking events and listen to others.
Staying “connected” to our electronic world has displaced other life priorities such as family, spirituality, health, and recreation. Restore balance to your life by restricting business activity to regular business hours. With very few exceptions, emails or texts received after supper or on weekends can wait for a response until the next business day. Non-billable activities such as planning, accounting, or social media should be scheduled in during the business week, not relegated to personal or family time.
The ultimate pleasure in not relying on information technology is having someone else worry about it for you. Save yourself time and frustration – contact TechFit to see how we can take the IT load off of your shoulders.