Industry Q2

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 6, Q2

Industry: “Lose no time, be always employed in something useful; cutoff unnecessary actions.

Personal notes:

  • Fully engage with what you’re doing; immerse yourself.
  • There’s not much time left; we’re getting old. Use time wisely.
  • Shut off distractions!

Honestly, things are getting a lot better in life, I mean a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to notice, and often, like in this blog, we only focus on the setbacks and failures. But after trying over the course of several months, I can see a change in my behavior, an improvement in my attitude and, most importantly, an increase in my happiness and the happiness of my family.

Distilled down, there are several root factors, but one of the biggest is also one of the biggest enemies of Industry: technology. Technology plays a dual role: on the one-hand, it amazingly increases productivity; on the other, it increases distraction.

The other day, when I should have been writing this post, I got lost on Facebook. When I should have been paying bills, I was texting. When I should have been playing with my daughter, I was reading headlines on my phone. Worse, when she interrupted my phone reading, I was furious – a recurring result when mixing tech and family.

Don’t take this as a slide to negativity; they were only moments in an otherwise very productive and happy week. But to achieve productivity and happiness, I had to be proactive.

  • On the iPhone, there’s a little moon button for “Do Not Disturb,” take advantage of it.
  • If you have a Mac, it’s a blessing and a curse; seamless integration with your other devices on the one end, constant interruption from those apps on the other. Fortunately, that little moon button is on the Mac as well.
  • Facebook, well, avoiding the site is the hardest part and the easiest way to do that is to turn off your notifications. Sorry if I never respond to your Facebook posts but my notifications are off and/or sent to junk mail. Try giving yourself a break and go off FB for a week; avoid the stress, comparisons and bad news.
  • Want another way to go on FB less? Do what I did and take the app off your phone. In fact, take any distracting app off your phone. The process of logging into a webpage is enough of a hurdle that it will end that distraction.
  • Finally, for the kids, put down the phones and hide them in another room. My wife and I police one another, sometimes we fail, but if our 2 year old catches sight of our phone, her screams and cries when she doesn’t get the phone are a poignant reminder that we need to keep them out of sight.

It does always amaze me when I go through these virtues, how often unhappiness or setbacks are tied to phones specifically, technology generally. I’m a big fan of tech – let me be clear, nothing makes me happier than a 2 minute wait for Uber – but when I look at myself, my family, our happiness and Industry, I know progress demands technology in moderation.