A leash is something used to hold an animal in check. It restrains, is used to lead, and ultimately controls the animal at the end of it. I read an article the other day that metaphorically slapped people on the wrist for being on a digital leash.
This term applies to you if you:
- Check or send emails about work over the weekend;
- Check or send emails while on vacation;
- Upload photos of what you are doing as you are doing it;
- Pull out your cell phone to check on other things while out to a meal; or
- Check your cell phone while in the company of others.
I am a big fan of people who come up with a phrase that perfectly captures the essence of something. a ‘digital leash’ does that for me – it’s a very good mixture of repellant and attractive.
Why are people so eager to give up the ‘now’ for the ‘next?’ I asked around – and this is what I heard:
• I feel left out if I’m not checking in.
• Something pops into my head and I act on it immediately – because I can/because I might forget.
• My attention span is short/shorter than it used to be.
• I can do more than one thing at a time
• I’m bored with what is going on
• There is a pause in the action – allowing me to fill it with a check on my phone
• Others expect it of me
• I want people to know about me/what I’m doing/what I’m thinking
• I like to know what others are doing/thinking
But while you are checking in, you are missing out. You are sending a message to those you are with – this is more important than you. Something else is more interesting than you. I’m a busy/important person. You are not enough. The vacation spot can’t hold my attention. Work is always on my mind. My Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram/Tumblr is more important than whatever is happening right now in my life.
So during these summer months, remove the leash. While you are with people, give them your full attention. While you are on the vacation that you planned and paid for, enjoy the investment of your time and money. Relax and appreciate the lack of technology.
Break the digital leash — You can tell us all about it when you get back.