Every year, technology allows us to go faster, do more things, connect more places. Faster than we can think and connect. Our computers can process faster than we can type – and they’re getting faster every year. Unless of course you’re working with video and large image files and then you can never have enough speed/memory/disk space. Technology is converging – TVs are getting flatter, everythings’ miniaturized, mobile, portable, fluid. no longer tethered.

It allows us to be connected all the time. Technology is like the accelerator in your car. Without a speed limiter. And that’s where you get in trouble if you don’t know how to stop. It can get you off track. Out of control. Lost. Is it helping you do more with your life? Are you achieving your goals more effectively and with greater satisfaction because of it? Or is it running your life. Consuming your time.

I just read Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus (amazon affiliate link) in which he talks about the vast amounts of time we’ve spent watching TV. Time we didn’t have 100+ years ago when we were working all the time to support homes and families. Time we’ve been afforded by education and progress has improved our productivity. He talks about the ability now to tap into that surplus – translate passive activity into something creative and productive. Not easy, but imagine what a few of the trillions of hours directed towards something new could do? What kind of business you could create?

But then Mack Collier writes about how fewer than 1 – 2% of his Twitter followers actually click on the links he shares. It’s still a mostly passive medium. We’re not engaging by and large. Perhaps that will change as the younger generations growing up with such connectivity naturally. Clay writes about a 4 year old who while watching a movie gets up and looks behind the TV. Her dad asked her what she was doing. “Looking for the mouse.” She expected to interact with the movie. Not just watch it. To her, technology just is. To most of us, growing up without it, it’s this shiny new toy that’s changing how we live. How we work.

And technology never slows down. Just like going fast  and faster down the highway. Or riding your bike down hill – at some point you’re going to have to stop. Or face a crash. Or a nice ticket. It can be exhilarating. But faster is not always better. More is not always the answer.

So how do you gain control? There are no brakes. No, YOU need to choose the pieces of technology that enhance your life. Look at what improves your ability to communicate with others. Make your life richer. And for those that don’t, get rid of them. Adopt only those technologies that feel right. Those that are simple. Engaging. And remember you’re ultimately in the driver’s seat.

Personally, look at the tools that help you stay connected to your family and friends. Are your conversations and relationships made richer and deeper by the tools? Or do the tools get in the way of meaningful interactions?

Professionally, look at tools that enhance you’re ability to not only connect with prospects and customers, but that increase  the wow and delight you deliver. Every day. And if they don’t, get rid of them. Now.

What are your favorite technologies? What can’t you live without? My guess is that it’s that computer that happens to be a phone you’re holding right now.

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