Are We Too Connected? Five Ways To Take Technology Breaks

Are we too connected? Five ways to take technology breaks

are we too connected?

I recently made a big move from NYC to San Francisco. I was extremely excited but it was also tough because my roots, my family, my friends, and my professional network all largely reside in NYC. I grew up in a suburb 40 minutes outside the city and spent four years of college and five years post-graduation smack in the middle of it. I thought I’d be there for life.

After the big move out to California, I fought homesickness with technology. My computer was always plugged into IM, my phone always near, Skype and Facetime were utilized more than ever, and Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram were being constantly refreshed.

On one hand, it was great. Somehow, even though I was thousands of miles away and on the opposite coast, I felt “looped in.” I knew when my dog was doing something cute, what my family ate for dinner, and literally everything about my best friends- from what spin class they took that day to what was new at work (to what bar they were closing down on a Saturday night thanks to Foursquare). In some ways, I was probably more informed on what was going on than I was when I lived a five minute cab ride from them.

I did start to notice that I was getting a bit too connected to my iPhone, the vehicle for most of my virtual connections. Those around me noticed too. It followed me around my apartment, made it to the dinner table, and interrupted my workflow. As they say, “there can be too much of a good thing,” and it was. Technology and virtual connectedness is great, until it gets in the way of the relationships with those standing in front of you. Being too connected can affect both personal and professional relationships.

The best way to prevent technology from taking over and becoming disruptive is to be aware of the effect it has on you and make conscious efforts to unplug. There are a few main things to keep in mind when it comes to technology and your personal life.

1. When you are having a face-to-face conversation, keep the technology out of sight.

If there is an emergency, your phone will ring. Otherwise, continually checking text messages and other alerts significantly takes away from the interaction. It makes you lose focus and breaks up the natural flow of a conversation. Worst of all, it hinders our ability to truly absorb and fully listen.

2. Create blocks in your day to be technology-free.

Whether it is going for a run, attending a yoga class, reading a magazine, or taking a walk around the neighborhood, don’t bring your virtual world into the activity. It’s amazing how focusing completely on an activity can refocus you in a good way.

3. Don’t let your virtual knowledge of someone’s life prevent you from asking them about it.

I knew that my best friend went to her final dress fitting because of Facebook. I let the Facebook post prompt me to ask about it and hear the details instead of being satisfied with the virtual update. Hearing about an experience directly from someone is always better than just seeing it on social media.

4. It is almost never okay to be keeping up with personal social media during work hours.

I know this is very common now, but having Facebook or Gchat up on your work screen all day comes across as unprofessional. While your manager may not address this with you directly, it probably won’t go unnoticed and will affect the way they perceive your work ethic and value.

5. Do not bring personal devices to a meeting.

It is one thing if you are using an iPad to take notes, but quite another to check in with your Twitter feed or text messages. Checking your personal cell phone during a meeting or when someone is talking to you is totally unacceptable. Basically, when someone is talking or presenting, everyone else should be listening, period.

While technology provides us with so many amazing things and does connect us in more ways than ever, it’s important to not let it take over. When it comes to relationships and your career, use it to your advantage and be careful not to let it disrupt any facet of your life.


By: Jaime Petkanics 

Jaime Petkanics

Jaime Petkanics is the writer behind, an online resource which provides advice on all aspects of the job search. A former recruiter, Jaime answers questions ranging from how to write a great resume, to how to answer interview questions, and everything in between.