*UPDATE*- This giveaway is now closed. But I hope you’ll still find time to enjoy Dot Complicated for yourself.
There was a time when work-life balance was the most elusive concept out there. Does it exist? If so, how do you attain it? It’s been debated, debunked, and the subject of best-selling books.
Since becoming a work-from-home mom, I’ve sensed a dramatic shift since that’s creating a new issue — one that’s far more pressing to me. Tech-life balance.
It may sound silly, but to me it isn’t. It’s a very real, very serious concern. Here’s why. Technology makes everything available at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t care if you’re on a field trip with your son’s class. Or waiting for your little ballerina to take to the floor. (In fact, it beckons you to take just one more picture that will live in the depths of your phone, computer, and some mystery cloud forever and ever. And share it, of course.) It has no regard for your “office hours” or snuggle time. And, in my case, because the information — the emails, the status updates, the text messages — sets off an alert on my phone, somehow these things take on an importance that they don’t deserve.
I realize it sounds easy to solve. Turn the phone off. Don’t look at it when you’re out and about. Write technology time onto the calendar. Yes, I know it sounds easy, because I’ve tried these things. But I’ve failed.
As a writer, I’ve failed myself. I’ve become too easily distracted and lacked focus when it comes to my goals.
As a mom, I’ve failed my children. I’ve spent too much time replying to others instead of engaging with them. (And don’t get me started on how technology has impacted them.)
As a wife, I’ve failed my husband. I’ve spent too much time laughing alongside virtual friends rather than him.
But it’s not all bad. Not at all.
Technology has been a lifeline for me. Now instead of walking through the halls and enjoying water cooler chats with friends in the office, I check in with friends online and go back to work with that same refreshed outlook. I’ve joined Facebook groups of like-minded people who have connected me to great opportunities, provided constant encouragement, and helped me be a better writer — and person. I’ve been able to turn acquaintances into some of my closest friends, without concern for the thousands of miles between us.
It’s not all bad. But it is complicated.
And nobody understands that more than Randi Zuckerberg — CEO of Zuckerberg Media, author of the soon-to-be-released Dot Complicated and Dot, and former marketing executive for Facebook. I had the pleasure of meeting her and engaging in a really deep, thought-provoking conversation with her this past summer.
Over the last few years, she’s not only witnessed the birth of social media, she’s experienced the birth of herself as a mother. She intimately knows the power of technology — for better or worse. As I’ve worked with Randi and her team while writing for her site, also called Dot Complicated, and followed her as she grows her media business, I’ve loved seeing that she truly seems to live what she preaches. Wait, I take that back, she’s not preachy at all. That’s the best part. She’s the kind of awesome smart, where you know she’s outrageously well traveled and educated, but she’s still someone you’d want to hang out with at a party — or playground. (I’m thinking Pink and her adorable little guy would really hit it off, too!)
Her book, Dot Complicated, is all about untangling our wired lives. She shares about her experience growing Facebook, and also covers the issues we all face as technology becomes more and more a part of our days. She wants to help people discover their best balance — off- and online. The book will be on shelves November 5th, and I pre-ordered my own copy as soon as I could. (And I also bought a copy of Dot for my kids…I got a sneak peek and it’s really well done!)
Randi and the Dot Complicated team wanted a Using Our Words reader to enjoy her book, hot of the press as well. If you live in the U.S., you can enter for a chance to win a copy by leaving a comment telling me one of your technology challenges by Friday, October 11th at 11:59pm PT. One winner will be chosen at random and will receive the book shortly after the release date. If you don’t win, you can join me by pre-ordering the book.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.