Once upon a time people in offices across the world used technology to make themselves more productive. Then, at the end of each day, they went home and left their computers (what we now call devices) behind to rest up for tomorrow’s work.

It sounds archaic – right? Seriously, how did we ever get work done back then? While we didn’t believe our parents’ stories of walking five miles uphill in the snow to get to school, our kids won’t believe that we were once forced to look up information in these massive books called encyclopedias.

Tablets-and-smartphonesWe live in the “Internet of things” age in which almost any object can be connected to the Web via Wi-Fi to transmit and/or receive data — from our cars, phones, tablets and houses to consumer-centric objects like scales, cameras, power meters and televisions. We even monitor the health of our kids on apps

So pretty much everywhere we go, we are connected – a situation that exists without requiring any specific action on our part. We’ve gone from a 9-5 society to something that starts with a quick pre-cursor between 7-8am, followed by a 9-5 workday, some family time at home, a little evening bonus time in front of the television, and then perhaps back online at around 10pm to ‘check-in’ on work and get ahead of the next day.

Sometimes as a business owner, the constant state of connectivity brought on by the consumer technology evolution can feel overwhelming. I realize all of these devices should allow me to get more work/play/shopping done faster and that it’s my own choice on how much effort I put into these daily activities. There is a certain discipline required to ‘shut down’ the email, stop the Angry Birds, Pinterest or QVC.com, though, and just be in the moment with my family and friends. Sure it’s not easy, but with the proper balance, the “Internet of things” will bring us more joy when online and more time with our families and co-workers – balancing offline interactions and conversations with those we have online.

Try taking part in the National Day of Unplugging for a digital detox from sunset March 23 to sunset March 24, 2012. Learn more here:  http://www.causes.com/causes/648905-national-day-of-unplugging/actions/1533560

At least until the next Pinterest comes out!


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– Janet Tyler is a co-CEO 
at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.