Shawn Holaran and Sharon D. Nelson, ABA Techshow panelists

Shawn Holahan and Sharon D. Nelson, ABA Techshow panelists

My name is Susan Martin and I am a technology addict. So I decided to attend a session at ABA Techshow titled “How to Balance Tech and Re-establish Eye Contact.” Presented by Sharon D. Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., and Shawn Holahan, IT consultant, the session focused on our general overuse of technology – especially our smartphones, and what that overuse is doing to us, both physically and mentally.

The panelists started by talking about the younger generation and how college-aged women are one their smartphones for an average of 10 hours a day while college-aged men spend an average of eight hours a day on theirs. They went on to say that approximately 50 percent of attorneys sleep with their smartphones on their bedside tables and admit to taking calls at any hour of the night.

Nelson herself used to be one of the 50 percent until she started noticing how it was affecting her physical health and also how she stopped paying as much attention to her grandchildren, pets and other “real life” issues. So she made a rule to check her email once after dinner and unless there was a crisis, then she put her phone away for the rest of the night and doesn’t check it again until the next morning. “I became healthier, I slept better, it was a positive change,” she said.

The panelists then went on to talk about doing a digital detox. So how is this done? They gave the following tips:

  • Don’t use any technology in the bedroom except (maybe) a TV
  • Make new technology rules and tell friends and colleagues your new rules, i.e., not to call after a certain hour in the evening
  • Only check your phone two times during the
  • Check your phone once after dinner during the week and then relax
  • Focus on your spouse, kids, friends, and pets without digital devices

Once that’s squared away, make a plan to get out there more. Go to social events, introduce people or ask to be introduced. Have stock questions at the ready if you struggle in social events: how are you enjoying the conference, what’s the best session you’ve seen, etc.

Finally, Nelson recommended the book How to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections – In Person and Online.

All it takes is a little less time on our personal technology devices to be more engaged in the “real world,” added Holahan.

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