I was at a dog park last week with my wife. Which would have been pretty socially acceptable except I was on my iPhone.
I could feel the judgmental stares from the other dog owners as they walked by. How could he ignore his wife and his dogs? Can’t he ever put his phone down and actually enjoy the day?
The problem is, they don’t see the whole picture. For starters, it’s 3 PM on a Wednesday. Most people are working at 3 PM on a Wednesday. I’m not playing Angry Birds, either: I’m making 5 business calls, answering a half dozen important email, and coordinating the shipment of some of my online products.
In the pre-digital era I would have been stuck in an office doing all of these tasks. Instead, I’m out in a beautiful park with my wife. I’m able take about 15 minutes and finish up my work for the day, then sit back and enjoy. 20 years ago I would have missed this entire event.
Our always-on digital culture does have silver lining. We’re empowered to do more in less time, so we can focus on the really important stuff. The only thing we have to do is be disciplined enough to use our tools to enable our relationships, not to avoid them.