During a recent staff meeting, Coach Jen and I were talking about 2018 and where we are headed as a gym/community/fitness leader in the area, and our conversation migrated from all that CrossFit has to offer, to the negative aspects of our society that are a direct result of an overly technological environment. News stories are everywhere talking about how inundated we are with beeps, buzzes, alerts, reminders, vibrations, etc. It started with the invention of the cellular telephone and Electronic Mail. Two forms of communication that were designed to speed up contact between two or more people. Then the two were put together and we added the internet, games, and apps to mini computers that could be carried in our pockets at all times. Recently, we have seen the advent of “wearables” that allow us to get even more alerts and quantifiable measurements about things like our heart rate, number of steps each day, and estimated calories burned. All of this consumable information that was meant to help us be more productive and healthier has become an addiction and obsession that now we cannot live without.
It has been proven that humans CANNOT multitask and the issues caused by constant distraction are only becoming worse. We can no longer enjoy a meal with friends or family without the worry of a phone alerting us to a new message. The temptation to look at that new alert is so great that it cannot be avoided. The obsession with keeping our heart rate below a certain number of beats per minute while working out causes us to spend more time looking at our wearable in the middle of a workout than worrying about keeping good form while we deadlift. We’ve replaced human interaction with Instagram and Facebook while sitting in the same room with real people. We could talk ad nauseam about the negative affects of technology, however, we aren’t promoting a complete rejection of it. We have come to accept that we cannot avoid it, so there is a movement now to create what is being termed “Separation” or “Space” from technology. We at Industrial Athletics will be jumping fully onto this movement. We can’t stop what you are doing outside the gym. However, for the hour or so we have influence over our members, we want you to be present, not distracted, focused, relaxing, and connecting with one another.
In the coming weeks as we start into 2018, we have a challenge for our members: Pay attention to your daily lives and how technology is present. Are you able to identify times of your day where you automatically engage with technology in a completely mindless way simply because it is a habit to do so? For example, do you take your phone out and look at Facebook every time you are at a stop light? Do you pull out your phone to check email every time you get into an elevator? Do you automatically grab your phone every time it alerts you to a new message only to find that it wasn’t something that demanded your immediate attention?
If you are self-critical enough to find these moments throughout your day, are you then able to make a change to eliminate that mindless habit and create some space from technology and spend time unplugged? Once you start to break the addiction, we think you will start to welcome the moments of quietness.