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Using Technology So We Can Put Down Technology

Technology and all the ways we use it has made us all impatient and left suffering from technology deficit disorder, TDD. Is that even a thing? Technology allows us to no longer have idle time. You see it at stop lights, waiting in line to order lunch, before a movie starts, waiting for the bus…it’s everywhere. It’s also while people are driving, walking, riding a bike, on a skateboard and I’m sure soon when you’re surfing. I guess doing one thing just isn’t enough. Sometimes I am watching TV while sending texts, checking my Instagram feed, checking my email and playing a brain game. At the same time. We need to let our brains rest and recharge. People are on their devices everywhere and all the time. I hope this doesn’t come off like old school curmudgeon, technophobe Luddite but seriously, we need to look up and see the world, because it’s amazing and most people are missing it.

Today, why not try taking 5 minutes to put down your phone and just watch the world go by? I bet it’s harder than it sounds and feels a lot longer than 5 minutes.

Using technology while you are on the move is dangerous. Using it all the time is likely not only bad for your health, but it allows us to be brain lazy. You never have to strain your brain to think up the answer to anything you just google it. I do it too. Heck I run a software company. Please try and understand the irony in writing a blog post about using more technology to use less technology. I try to see the humor in everything.

The average American Spends 5 hours per day on their mobile devices. Shouldn’t we at least try to maximize that time? Let’s talk about using technology to get away from it. One of the main reasons we built LearningZen was to improve consistency but also to greatly improve efficiency. We wanted customer to be able to train but in a way that your audience wants and expects it to be delivered. Electronically and utilizing video.  I love technology and for online training and lot’s of other things I think it’s brilliant. If you’re between 18 and 30 years old, chances are, if you don’t know how to do something you are going to go to YouTube and watch a video and learn how to do it, then try to do it. I just did this 3 weeks ago because I bought a new bike rack. I took one look at the directions then went to YouTube and brought up a video of someone installing the exact same bike rack. After I watched the video I installed the bike rack in all of 5 minutes. The best part is I knew I did it right the first time because I saw someone do it correct the first time and they gave me tips and tricks in the video. It gave me peace of mind when I headed on a 500 mile journey with my daughters bike and mine both brand new. I was confident the bike rack would do its job because I didn’t have the self-doubt that maybe I interpreted the instructions wrong. Anyone whose put together a piece of IKEA furniture recently is likely nodding.

Back to my point, let’s use technology to put down technology and see the world and get engaged in all of life’s beauty. Yeah I get it, it’s a weird scary political climate right now, but thankfully this isn’t a political blog and I don’t have the kind of time to attempt to explain the kind of batshit crazy town going on today. I’m talking about seeing the world because of the incredible access we have to it.  We no longer are limited to just reading about other countries and cultures, we can submerse ourselves in them. All because of the power of technology and the internet. Let’s be the people that go out into the world and truly experience it firsthand. We need to look up to experience it. Your neck and back will thank you.

Generations before ours did not have the luxury of being able to book their own travel. Think about this for a second. We have access to some incredible travel sites. Everything you’ve ever read in a book or magazine, anything you’ve seen on television or in a movie you can visit in person and you can book it yourself using crazy cool technology. If you need a flight to anywhere in the world, on any day, from and to any city in the world, you can find in seconds.  And get this. You can also do it from your phone. I could be bone fishing in Belize tomorrow. I could go see the Taj Mahal next weekend. I could play golf on St Andrews next month. Yikes, technology is amazing. If you want to visit something the world is literally at your fingertips. BOOM! My parents didn’t have this and neither did their parents and neither did yours.

This brings up something we talk about at work a lot. Smart money. Spending smart money on smarter technology buys us time to look up from that technology and see firsthand what our parents and their parents couldn’t see, the world and all its beauty.

Our philosophy at LearningZen is that spending smart money on smart technology purchases helps you simplify your life and other people’s lives. We all can learn from watching videos. Think of something right now that you don’t already know how to do. Then think to yourself, do you suppose there’s a video out there that could show me how to do this? I’m guessing almost anyone who just actually tried that little exercise would agree with this. A video that can teach you how to do almost anything is out there and you can pull it up from your phone. In minutes. Let’s just try to use technology for good.

The reason I love using my phone for travel is it’s super easy to launch an app rather than pulling out my laptop. I think everyone should have a travel reservation service installed on your phone. I personally love Sky Scanner. It’s an aggregate site like Orbitz that I find has more airlines and a more enjoyable interface. It’s still the easiest game in town. Find a flight from and to anywhere on almost any airline and sort it however you want. By number of stops, price, non-stop only, by time, by carrier…it’s free and easy to use. Even their car rental service just recently bailed me out of jam when I landed and had forgot to rent a car. All of my other services including the rental companies direct sites showed no availability but sky scanner came to me rescue. I’ve also had some good experience using Hopper. With hopper you can plan a future flight and they’ll tell you using some algorithms likely acquired with some advanced degrees that I can’t even pretend to explain. The site can tell you whether it’s a good time to buy now, or wait, to purchase your tickets later. Math is fun.

This year alone I went to Iceland and saw where Game of Thrones does some filming while I hunted the northern lights. I was reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame and then went to Paris and proceeded to eat the most wonderful food you can imagine. I walked down the same streets that George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were walking in Oceans 12 in Amsterdam. Reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar? Go to New England.

The world is amazing, but you need to take some time to look up and experience it. Technology has made travel to almost anywhere attainable. I don’t need another laptop, gaming system, a fancy car or a nicer house. What I want to do is see the world and experience it. Let’s use technology to use less technology so we can visit and immerse ourselves in the world. It’s gorgeous and ugly, its pungent yet fragrant, like this blog post its many things to many people but seeing it in person is so much better than watching it on TV, in a movie or reading about it. We live in a time where it’s all at our fingertips. Let’s use technology so we can put down technology and see the world, talk to people in person, eat what the locals eat, float down a river like Huck and Finn And Jim. Bring on the adventures!

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