Juggling Connectivity Rasing the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 136

This week’s reflection point: We live in an era of constant and instant connectivity. Over the past 15 years, our society has undergone a complete transformation in terms of basic interactions. It’s no surprise that the kids who came of age during this time period, the infamous Millennials, are known as The On-Demand Generation. These days, it seems that anything you want, you can get on demand—or at least in 1 to 2 business days, with free shipping.

On one hand, there’s an absurd side to all this connectivity. You can see it in the husband and wife who text each other from different rooms in the same house; the friends who sit, transfixed by their iPhone screens, ignoring each other at a restaurant dinner; or the work-centric parent who can’t seem to stop checking email even when it’s time to spend quality time with the kids.

On the other hand, constant connectivity is a boon for business. Seemingly unlimited methods of interaction mean that you’re accessible to clients whenever they need you. Internet-based communication technologies such as Skype have rendered geographic boundaries (and long-distance surcharges) obsolete. And the ability to tweet or post status updates from mobile phones has transformed the experience of conferences and speeches. Now, audiences as well as presenters can give live commentary on whatever they witness, sending real-time reactions out into cyberspace.

Reflecting on all this, it occurs to me that being constantly connected is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, the invention of tools like Google has given us the power to answer questions instantaneously, eliminating our need to wonder. But what have we lost in return?

The answer might not be straightforward, but one thing is for certain: We must maintain a balance in our lives when it comes to connectivity. There must be a time for “unplugging,” just as there is a time for being plugged in. We should separate family from work, and not allow our mobile devices to encroach on our precious time with loved ones.

Juggling connectivity is a challenge, but it’s worth it. So the next time you find yourself staring a screen when you should be looking someone in the eye, check your balance. You’ll be glad you did.

This week’s tip: Being constantly connected can be both a blessing and a curse. It can improve your business, sometimes at the cost of personal time. How well do you maintain your balance of connectivity?

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