Data is the new oil…..are we slipping or fueling?

The deluge of data today is overwhelming. We are being hit from all corners with information all the time. We wake up to multiple notifications across our social platforms – whatsapp, twitter, facebook etc. The morning breakfast is preceded by a newspaper read……more news. At work, you are fielding it from all directions and at night, media consumption is on the rise to relax and unwind.

The complexity we all face is in drawing the distinction between necessary phone usage and avoidable usage. And the boundary is an invisible line that is tough to regulate, often leaving us teary eyed and overstimulated.

One of the biggest themes driving disruption in business (and economies?) today is the impact of technology on all business and its deflationary effect overall. Communication (and hence reaction) times are compressing massively as everything is real time…..the need to be connected is not an option but a requirement.

So, how do we as individuals cope to make sure we can run this race and not be overwhelmed by the deluge?

Use Data?

It always flummoxed me that we had an app (or multiple apps) for nearly every utility in the world but we didn’t have one that would measure the time we spent on our phones and apps everday. I just downloaded an app called Moment that provides me this data on an everyday basis. While it may not be entirely accurate, it definitely helps in building the conscience/regulation around phone usage. It didn’t shock me to realize that I spent over 3 hours a day on the phone, and I am apparently well below the world average :).

Data can increase productivity… why not use it?

Tracking Mindfulness?

In my opinion, this is probably one of the most underappreciated topics in the world today. Mobile device usage has an ability to wire us up and transport us away from the present. Returning back to our “current place” does not happen immediately once the phone is switched off or set down. It is a process to disconnect…and come back to the current.

The average adult picks up their phone 50–70 times and spends ~4 hours a day on the phone. Does that give you a sense as to why we feel so distracted/wired all the time?

Mindfulness is not a metric that can be tracked today…and I wonder if therein lies an opportunity.

Mobile Etiquette

It is clear to me that those who converse with their heads buried in their phones are bad time managers. Ironically, it isn’t always the most “important” person who does this. It always leaves me wondering if these people have an inability to prioritize work or are just plain addicted to their phones. The required regulation here is in behaviour, else this data oil spill would guarantee a slip.

It has been only ten years since smartphones and social media changed our world radically. At present, it feels like it has left many of us overwhelmed with the data deluge. But I believe there is a path to contain this flood. And using data to combat data, and a little bit of EQ might be the answer.

Being able to measure mindfulness could be the Holy Grail.

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