Being a leader isn’t just about getting the best out of yourself and your team - it comes with a fair degree of responsibility, too.
Today, I’d like to talk about technology and how our over-reliance on business gadgetry might be putting us in very real danger.
You’ll have to forgive me for getting soppy about our wonderful planet for a moment, but our reliance on technology has had the dramatic side effect of pushing the planet’s energy usage beyond what anyone would consider reasonable.
Experts will point to renewable energy as a possible fix, but this graphic neatly illustrates how big a job it would be to power the world’s major cities via that method.
So, what can we humble business leaders do to help curb the world’s thirst for electricity?
I’ve got an idea, and it involves drastically reducing the amount of tech we rely on. Here’s how I’ve started to do that myself:
Invest only in smart tech
Experts believe that 70% of the population will be living in ‘smart cities’ by 2050. Quite what that means exactly is anyone’s guess, but we’re already seeing green shoots of technology that’s spookily human-like in its ability to be genuinely useful.
Think Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri personal assistants, and you get the idea.
Most importantly, smart technology is capable of being very efficient indeed. In my home office, for example, I’ve invested in lights and heating that can all be controlled from my smartphone and configured to only come on when absolutely needed.
My Apple Watch has been a revelation, too, and thanks to its notification system, means I spend far less time using devices I’d otherwise be turning on or charging simply to check what’s going on in the world.
I spend more time ‘in the moment’
I’ve been very guilty in the past of living my life through technology.
Whether it be catching up constantly on the latest news and happenings on social media, taking photos of every interesting event or location rather than breathing it in or choosing to communicate with colleagues digitally rather than in-person, tech always seemed to take me out of ‘the moment’.
Now, I’ll put my smartphone down, revel in simply being alive and in a position of running my own business and shun digital contact for that of the face-to-face variety wherever possible.
It makes me happier, more productive and far less device-dependent.
I use tech to keep me away from tech
Here’s a curious one; I’ve found that I can reduce my reliance on tech by using it more.
I now use a couple of different apps that both track my time worked and remind me to get up and do things. The former is a standard hour tracker which gives me an invaluable insight into how long I’ve been grafting away, while the latter resides on my Apple Watch and tells me at regular intervals to stand up and become more active.
Apps and services like these are tech at its most mindful, in my book, and they’re capable of making a tangible, positive difference to your life.
I love technology and always will, but since I’ve started to curb my reliance on it, I’ve found I’m less inclined to purchase every new gadget that arrives on the market and have become far more productive.
As noted at the start of this post, I’m also convinced I’m genuinely doing my bit for the planet.
Join me in charging stuff less often, switching off when you’ve had enough and - most importantly - living for the now.