Overcoming Overload with Balance

balanceLast month’s focus on technology was interesting because I didn’t realize the impact of technology in the details of my life. I didn’t realize how out of balance I truly was regarding my use of technology and my need for almost constant access and information.

I certainly don’t think technology is evil. I love the relationships, the access to information and the freedom to share thoughts and ideas. Yet, I also realize the need to master or be mastered by technology and its incessant call. I understand that I must refuse to follow the crowd and instead choose my own focus. In doing so, I can overcome information overload by focusing on creating balance.

Laying Down the Gauntlet

Just like overload looks different on every person, so does a balanced solution for overload. In Managing Overload with Boundaries, we discussed basic principles as a guide in creating a plan for awareness, prevention and management of overload.

In today’s post, I am issuing a challenge, playing off our focus last month on technology and playing into this month’s focus on balance.

CHALLENGE

The challenge is this: Decide one way you can begin to become the master over technology in your life rather than a slave to it. Think of some change you can make that clearly says, “I refuse to follow the crowd and will decide for myself how to use technology & how to manage the information it constantly presents.”

To help, let’s look at examples of others working to create balance in their lives:

These examples and suggestions hopefully serve to get your creative juices flowing as well as to inspire and motivate.

Choose to Think

With the gauntlet laid down, consider this quote from Rick Dawson of Planned Peasanthood, someone who always hits home with truth…

“God gave us the ability to think – we have to choose to do so, on a minute by minute basis sometimes, if we don’t want to be overwhelmed by the ‘drinking from the firehose’ condition of living in an always on, 24/7/365 world. In its own way? It can set us up for the same sort of response that primitive man had – always afraid, always on guard.”

Choose to get grounded with God, and let Him prioritize your day. Trust God to get you the information and connections you need instead of obsessing over the constant inflow from technology. Find YOUR balance by choosing to think based on the guiding and directing of the Holy Spirit.

While I see the convenience of technology, I simply cannot shake the fact that it never satisfies my deep need for connection. And for that reason, I choose today to pick up the gauntlet.

DISCUSSION: Will you pick up the gauntlet too? If so, how?

28 thoughts on “Overcoming Overload with Balance

  1. Great recommendations and thoughts. We push to expand our platform of influence. We seek to extend our bridges to connect with others to help us grow mentally, spiritually, and physically (at least in our reach and impact in the world we live). However, this desire comes with a price: connecting with others is intended to be an exchange of ideas and inspiration. Technology has made this networking idea grow exponentially from the days of face-to-face handshakes. Our privacy, our valuable time is at risk as we grow our sphere of influence, ergo our platform. As Kenny Rogers sang, "Know when to hold them, when to fold them and when to walk away." Be prepared to filter our way through demands of the growing platform you build…it is okay to excuse yourself and walk away for a spell.

    • So much is at risk for sure, Coach. We definitely need to know when to hold back, when to say "no" and when to move on. We need to deliberately apply filters, which we've discussed, to help us not become overloaded. Prevention really is the best approach because when overload is in full swing, it's very hard to see that there is a way out. We feel very bound to that which overloads us at that point. I am working to build in times of walking away more. I need them more and more these days.

  2. I just returned from a week off social media. Now I'm behind and am longing for another social media break. I'm praying about what God wants me to do. It's His will I seek. But I do long for time away from this computer. But sometimes it feels like I make more of a Kingdom impact through blogging than in any other way. I think Dan's on the right track. Keep blogging but minimal it.

    What Rick said reminds me of a post I read from Glenn Beck. He said that someone told him that he was feeling drained because he needed more of God poured into him and less of the news. Yes, news is his life and calling, but he must make sure he spends more than 10% of his time connected to the love of God. God's Word brings life. The world drains us.

    • Two reasons I encourage regular media breaks is because they show us our need for them and they help us desire them more than the media. This change in thinking helps media become a tool rather than us being its slave. I've been going to the Holy Spirit more to help me in this area, and He's showing me ways to simplify. It's hard, but I have to say "no" to good things in order to focus on the "best" that God wants me to focus on. I need to simply trust that He's working things out exactly as they need to work out as I obediently focus where He wants. It's hard because those things that I say "no" too seem to still call my name. Your comment about Glenn Beck reminded me of my 80/20 rule that I've had in other areas. It might just work here too…

  3. I would never have imagined how technology has impacted my life. I love being connected with family and friends and getting devotionals and blogs and books on it. But I can also see how it has taken control of my time. Instead of sleeping or interacting with each other my husband and I both pull out the laptops and spend time on FB and our email. My email is much longer than his since I use it as a source of inspiration through many good blogs, but sometimes when we do not have service for a while it is overwhelming. He says hit delete, but I can't…_Like TC said I will have to be praying about this. I also liked the simplicity of "Be all there". I try to not answer the phone or text if we are in conversation. That is why I like text, I can answer it when I can, but the question is do I? Can it wait?_I remember life with party line telephones with cranks, black and white TV, not internet, no computer, no cell phone. And we lived just fine. but it sure would seem strange today. _Thanks Kari for helping resolve my issue with your site and this thoughtful presentation._I looked at May and all the celebrations and realized why I am tired, it isn't just the technology, but life. I must have set aside the technology for a while, because we sure had a lot of celebrations, of course you can find pictures of many of them on the internet! lol_

    • Well, the "old" technology you mentioned once caused people of the day to be stressed too. I realize today is more so because of the constant influx, but you get my point. Anyway, we simply need to set some boundaries and do what we need to in order to stick with them. For example, I will silence my phone and/or leave it in another room when I don't want to be distracted by it. I find that simply out of sight/out of mind helps tremendously. I also try to keep my values in front of me, what's most important… and that's loving God and loving others. Focusing there usually helps me make good decisions. You know this, I realize… I just know I need to keep it in front of me to keep focused there. Also, the better my relationship with the Lord, the better able I am to have and maintain healthy boundaries. He knew what He was doing when He created guidelines for us, that's for sure. They're so timeless!

  4. As much a fan of advances in technology as I am – and there isn't much room to question that – I know in my bones that we need to step away from the tools and the talismans and the toys we have made in our own image. Be there with the people you are with – give them the gift of your presence, not a piece of it as you spend time looking at a screen filled with video images of cute kittens or skateboarders getting slammed by a bad landing, or even a text communication with someone else in the same house.
    My recent post Slip Away

  5. I'm still on schedule to turn off on June 20th. It will be a challenge. But it will also be freeing. In the fall I'll get a new provider that will offer a speedier connection with unlimited data. Maybe. We'll see how the summer goes. Of course I might bail early too.
    My recent post four ways of improving your listening skills

    • Here's what I see this activity as doing for you, Dan. I see it as sort of hitting a reset button and giving you a clean slate of sorts. It will help you see what you truly miss and what you can do without. It will help you appreciate certain things and realize that other things were just weighing you down. Also, I think it's important to replace the extra time you have, what you'd usually be spending on the internet, with other beneficial activity. I know you have plenty to do, but it will need to be a very deliberate replacing of habits rather than just filling the time. Otherwise, the "bad" will just come back stronger than before; at least, that's usually the case. So, for what it's worth, that's my objective view of what you've decided to do for the summer. If there's any way I can help, any sort of accountability or encouragement I can offer, please let me know. You know how to get a hold of me!

    • I noticed that, Barb. Actually, a lot of bloggers seem to be focusing here. Must mean it's not just the two of us! Yes, seeing what others do is extremely helpful. I've gotten ideas from lots of people for sure.

  6. Kari,
    I like the quote you used… "If it does not challenge you It does not change you." I think alot of times we have to place ourselves in the path of challenges. We have to choose not to side step them. I'm not on facebook, twitter, or instagram and intend to stay away from those. I want to be more intentional leaving my phone somewhere besides within two feet of me.
    So what are you going to do?

    • We definitely like our comfort too much in this country, don't we? What you're doing are two excellent ways to overcome overload and maintain balance… and they're so simple. Ahhh… I was just waiting for someone to ask 🙂 I am just eating when it's time to eat. No surfing or reading. Just eating. I leave my phone in the other room after 9:00 when the kids go to bed and my husband and I get one-on-one time together. I leave my phone at home when I go to Sunday & Wednesday services at church. When my kids sit next to me to talk, I put down what I'm doing or shut it off or shut the screen or whatever, and give them my full attention and my eye contact. I'm instituting technology-free camping weekends this summer as well as limiting it on our future vacations. Let's see… I'm choosing to read more actual books than I have been, perhaps alternating between ebooks and real books. I'm not going to worry about social networking. I'm letting my 15-year-old do the tech side of my blog and focusing my efforts on the creative side. How's that for a start? There are more 🙂

  7. Kari,
    That's a lot!! I hope it goes great for you. Excellent ideas. I tend to read when I am alone and eating. If I don't have my phone or a paper I'll read whatever is on any box near by!! 🙂

    • Well, I can't very well issue the challenge and not have my own to work on, now can I? The just eating during meals comes mostly when I eat along, which usually all but dinnertime. Since I read and write a lot, I sort of kept doing it when I ate, and didn't take a break at all. I'm finding that this time of just eating allows my brain to relax, which helps the creative juices flow again. Oh, I am not taking any tech to listen to when I run or bike either, and it's kind of the same thing. When I just let my thoughts flow, I seem to be able to order them better and get less overwhelmed. Just another way to stop the flow of information a bit and to process that which I've already taken in.

  8. I guess I'm fortunate in that I don't really enjoy facebook or twitter socialization, so it doesn't really distract me. For me, it's not about finding relationships elsewhere – it's about finding entertainment. I've had to restrict reading certain hobby and interest websites to my day of rest – and I've found that helpful.
    My recent post The Key to Making Accountability Work

    • Another good example. I kind of do the same as far as restricting my fiction reading and "extra" reading to the weekend. Facebook and Twitter really can be just about finding entertainment, and it truly is for many. That and attention seeking. Twitter can be a source of good articles, at least it has been for me, but that comes from being choosy about who I follow. And, I don't even get on it every day. What I see most from your comment here is that our specific problem areas are unique to us, at least the combination of them is, but we all have them. Realizing what they are and seeking solutions is something we all have in common.

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