Jeanine Cogan
Executive coach

Jeanine Cogan

Heads Cogan Coaching and is on the faculty of the Center for Continuing and Professional Education at Georgetown University.

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Everything in moderation

Q: We've got Blackberries. And iPhones and Droids and notebook computers and Google. They help make us more successful! Don't they?? The new book "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" says the Internet impairs our ability to think long and hard. Do you agree? And if so, does the added productivity justify a little Internet-inspired attention-deficit disorder?

As with all good things, there are downsides. The explosion of technological inventions is revolutionizing this generation. With that comes many changes -- some good and some not so good.

I now can take my office with me everywhere I go by using a Blackberry. This gives me freedom to not be chained to my desk. I can grocery shop or go for a walk and still appear as if I am at my job, slaving away. The Blackberry offers me more flexibility and options.

On the downside is that having a Blackberry blurs any sense of boundaries. When am I off from work? In fact, one federal employee I am coaching told me that her boss recently gave her a Blackberry and expects her to always respond. When did it become okay for bosses to expect us to work at 10 p.m. or on a Saturday morning? This is a troubling trend as people find it more difficult to find balance between work and home.

Additionally, Blackberries and the like make it challenging for us to unplug and truly rejuvinate our minds and bodies. The consequence of this is that we rarely get a break from all the endless chatter that clutters our brains via this fancy technology. Do I really need to know that Macy's is having a sale 10 minutes before going to bed?

Which brings me back to my earlier point. Since I got a Blackberry, I have tried many plans for training myself to use it in moderation. We are a culture of excess, so I am swimming upstream here. How do we use this technology in a way that it brings more freedom and ease into our lives, rather than challenges and struggles? That is the real question.

By Jeanine Cogan  |  July 22, 2010; 5:58 PM ET  | Category:  Technology and success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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