The Importance of Disconnecting From Technology and Social Media | Business Technology

Social Media Platforms are constantly pushing us to “Connect” and it can be overwhelming to keep up as it is no longer just Facebook and Twitter but more and more are entering the market and demanding our attention such as pinterest, delicious and the list goes on.I was inspired this week when I watched “The Amish Project: 90 Days Spent of the Communication grid” on YouTube about a guy who decides to disconnect from technology for 90 days including no phones (or text messages), internet, email or social media and documents his experience.His journey is inconceivable for many of us, particularly those running a small business where social media is a vital aspect to building and growing your business.However, it did get me thinking.This weekend I am at my family beach house. All I can hear is the wind blowing in the trees as my young daughter sleeps. I have brought my lap-top but have no internet connection and mobile coverage is unreliable. It’s a far cry from home having my website, Hootsuite, Twitter, Facebook, mail-chimp, EzineArticles, Google Analytics, Google AdWords and many other research webpages going simultaneously.

This morning I played with my daughter – REALLY played with her – ticked her, built blocks with her, chased her, and took her for a walk rather than sitting at my lap-top doing work while she played on her own and from time-to-time tried to get my attention. We both really enjoyed ourselves without the distractions of technology.Most of my evenings are spent trying to balance making dinner, time with her, talking to my husband, organising our extension and cramming in as much of the ‘bits and pieces’ social marketing and administration work that needs to be done for my business.So the point of all of this is that we all need technology free time, we all NEED to disconnect from our online lives and businesses in order to reconnect with our family.Connecting with our loved one’s in this brave new online world is something that has to be prioritised, and if need be, planned. Seven Ways to Disconnect from Technology:

Get away somewhere remote as often as possible and only use your phone for emergencies;
Think of some fun family activities where you have fun and laugh together. The Zoo or a picnic in a park is a great idea;
Schedule technology free date nights with your partner and go to a movie or just watch a DVD together at home;
If you are running a business don’t build the expectation that you will be online and contactable over the weekend or late at night, set reasonable business hours and commit to them;
If like me, you have so many ideas and actions buzzing around your head at the end of a work-day it’s critical to do a “download”. Get a notebook and write down any creative ideas you have, actions for tomorrow and anything else that is on your mind. This will help you switch off and importantly get a good night’s rest;
Make sure you do something relaxing for at least a half hour before bed – read a fiction book, meditate, do some yoga or watch a light show on TV;
Take some “me-time” and participate in something each week that makes you feel relaxed and centred. My favourites are walking along the beach or getting a massage. This enables me to centre my thoughts without the distractions of technology and social media and I feel completely energised afterwards.

The reason my weekends at our beach house are so peaceful is because technology is kept to an absolute minimum and priority is given to connecting, reflecting, relaxing and being together as a family.But can I tell you a secret? I wish I knew what my website hits were yesterday….

4 Steps for Managing Your Small Business Technology Costs

A few simple steps can help you make the most of your expenditures throughout the lifecycle of the technology. Servers, desktops, software, networking equipment and peripherals add up, but you do need them to keep your business running. Follow these steps to make cost-effective decisions.

1. Weigh Financing Options

Aside from purchasing, financing and leasing are viable options for a small business. Consider a combination of the three when going through the buying process. Installing and configuring the technology could also be financed and bundled into regular payments. Does the company you’re buying from provide “new and authorized by the manufacturer” sales? After you’ve got the equipment up and running, this could enable your company to get updates or enhancements directly from the manufacturer–and dealing with problems will be much simpler.

2. Warranty Wisely

Anticipate growth and business changes and decide whether or not the technology you are selecting today can carry you through these changes. Take into account the time that it will be considered useful for your business. To protect yourself when financing or leasing, align the term of the agreement with the warranty period. That way you’ll have protection direct from the manufacturer during the period of time you intend to own it.

3. Consider Total Cost

Prepare and budget for other costs to support your technology. For example, toner cartridges typically cost the owner or a laser printer two to three times the initial cost of the printer. Consider a program such as a Managed Print Service to include these costs in the monthly price. Typically this will lower the total lifetime cost.

4. Plan for Disposing of the Equipment

Considering your company’s strategy around technology disposal or recycling at the front end. There are basically 3 ways to properly dispose of technology at the end of the useful life:

Sell the equipment
Donate the technology to a school, non-profit, etc.
Formal Disposition – Certified companies will assure your computers or other hardware and software will be properly disposed of, including recycling and reuse of components. Another benefit: Your data is destroyed and made unrecoverable by professionals rather than relying on inexperienced staffers.

The total cost of ownership of technology includes more than the upfront price tag. Consider the total lifecycle costs of IT for your business, plan ahead and you’ll make sure you’re maximizing your investment.