January 10th, 2011
06:32 PM GMT
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For the first time ever I made a New Year’s resolution. I resolved to spend less time with my BlackBerry.

After the Christmas break, where I managed to relax and slow down a bit, I realized how overly dependent I had become on my BlackBerry.

I was constantly checking for emails and then felt slightly bereft if there wasn’t a tranche of messages beeping. I had to wean myself off it.

As a journalist, I thrive being in contact and knowing things but I think sometimes it all just becomes a bit too much. After a while, I realized I was being bombarded, constantly, by irrelevant questions or useless facts, much of which was not vital to my day.

Don’t get me wrong, in my line of work the BlackBerry is indispensable. The trick is to use it when you need it and not ALL the time.

Obviously, it got me thinking about all the ways to access and read information in the 21st century. The dilemma for the working person is how to filter all the information we can access each day. It’s the classic example of “The tyranny of too much choice.”

At some stage, I think we have to be disciplined and make clear choices about which websites we spend time reading, how often you check your BlackBerry after hours and when to just say, “Enough.”

It’s all about priorities, isn’t it? Being glued to emails, Twitter, text messages and websites can totally swallow up your day.

So my question is: Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Do you have to limit the amount of technology you use in your life?

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Goddog

    Resolution as always is to not make any resolutions.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  2. DJB

    From your CNN blog article "Too much information?"

    "a _tranche_ of messages"

    Since this was filed under business/marketplace, I would assume that you are familiar with the terms and language used in your writing.

    "tranche" is not an alternative for "a bunch" or "a lot" etc.
    I would hope that CNN correspondents would spend a bit more time researching the usage of buzzwords that appear in their articles as some readers not familiar with these words will take the usage for granted and continue the spread of misuse.


    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 am |
  3. thenontech

    true, very true.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:27 am |
  4. Manzur

    As a corporate executive, I too was addicted to BlackBerry for the same reasons that Robyn is/was: it was crucial to be up to date with information. However, I switched to an Android phone, after which an unexpected turn occurred: I became less addicted to phones! The reasons were ironic to say the least! They were:
    1. Android/iPhones give you far more options to 'waste your time' than BlackBerry possibly can with mostly emails. Hence, you have to share your time across a wider range of 'apps' besides email. But since email is most important to you anyway (in my line of profession), I spend overall less time with the gadget.
    2. These new smartphones quickly run out of battery. So I'm continually forced to prioritize my most important phone activities, and conserve battery power.
    Don't get me wrong: BlackBerries are still the best work mail phones, but if you're truly addicted to them, then an Android/iPhone may be the solution!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  5. javs

    i have the same dilemma, and planning to give up on the blackberry, and move to another phone.

    the other thing i do is to change the profile to phone only, which means silent alerts for all notifications/alerts.

    but i am planning to give up on the blackberry, this way i have less notifications for mails and dont have to worry about every alert. i plan to only check my mails when i want to which obviously would be lesser than being tempted by a blackberry alert.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:10 am |
  6. John Keebler

    This is poorly written. It's like something out of a pathetic diary entry. Of course you shouldn't obsess over your blackberry freak

    January 11, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  7. Ron Villejo, PhD

    Nice post, Robyn.

    It is easy indeed to get tethered to my BB and to get lost in Facebook, YouTube etc. On occasion, hours pass and it's hard to account for their passing.

    So, a few months ago, I resolved to keep things 'clean' in my various social and communications devices. e.g., On Facebook, I deleted several friends; left groups (especially those that send me spam); blocked games (too boring, too many requests) etc. BBM, Skype, phone directory ... if there's a friend who doesn't respond back to me or whom I no longer wish to be in contact with ... just two words, "Gone, baby!" (haha)



    January 11, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  8. SEAN+T


    January 11, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  9. Matt

    Here in my summer (Australia), I decided not to use face book for 3 and half months and so far it's been great. i've been off of it for two months and i've got a lot more time on my hands as a result to do things I really like to do with friends.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  10. a human

    Excessive & idiotic use of anything can be horrendous for a person or a society.

    January 11, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  11. Sherry Combis

    I don't spend too much time using 21st century gadgets just to be updated and I'd rather not. So I think everyone has got to know how to take control of themselves. For in a lot of ways, delaying gratification is the ultimate form of self-disciline.

    January 11, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  12. Niklas

    Definitely agree with DJB. When I read "tranche" it caught me off guard. As a fluent French speaker, I immediately though, how strange, anther loan word whose definition changed in the borrowing language. Then I looked at the definitions in the links, and indeed, it means portion, which is somewhat similar to a slice, after all, a slice of ham could be considered a portion. However, here the author uses it like "bunch", or dare I say "plethora", which has nothing to do with the tranche.

    Not only do I chide the author for using it inappropriately, but also the copy editors, if there were any...

    January 11, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  13. Manuel Vilhena

    Interesting. My New Year resolution is to drink less coffee.

    January 11, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  14. Troy Tamakehu

    I plan to use facebook less. :)

    January 11, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  15. johnny further

    this poor guy couldn't handle all the information ... too much, ka-baam: www . littledebbieoatmealcookie.wordpress . com/explosion/

    January 11, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  16. Selvakumar Manickam

    I use to compulsively check emails and spend time online. After my son was born, I now spend more time with him. I am more "human" now :)

    January 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  17. Luke@BCN

    Dump your BB and get an iPhone or an Android. The addiction will not get better, but at last you will have a decent phone!

    January 11, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  18. Sherry

    Resolution?...just a joke for me..

    January 11, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  19. canvashoe

    I do make new year resolution but it's not to limit the amount of technology I use in my life. Actually, sometime I feel overwhelmed to keeping checking new feeds or messages on iPhone, and it's kills much of brain cells I think... After that I figure out something quite essential from doing this:
    1. Do Not log in ur accounts all the time. It will eventually kill u form checking that.
    2. Delete some information that seems familiar or unimportant, it will make u feel quite easy on information gaining everyday.

    May above tips will help u as well as ur resolution comes true!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  20. Cocopuf

    Yes, it sure is easy to become addicted to the BB. And now with the explosion of integrated personalized technologies merging into like the iPad 2 coming soon, and others; it will take some discipline to control yourself. Even with my iPad, I find it hard to leave home without it and using it at work and everywhere else too ... including the bathroom ... lol. Just think when there will (soon) be 3D capability into ALL displays, we're going to be walking like zombies. Okay, okay ... I've got to control myself (period)

    January 11, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  21. Reinaldo

    My cellphone only takes 5 pictures and for a reason. I like simplicity, if some one wants to tell me something important they will call me. Blackberry and iPhones are for leisure.

    They do resolve some jobs related communication issues but socially are damaging peoples interaction for a more cold/ inorganic.

    At the end of the day you communicated with 60 people but you saw no one, at the end of the week you have no actual physical friends "text me" they will say.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  22. vugar agamalioglu

    more information make your not to think about real love life and some things that is very useful fo your life and soul.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  23. Thiago Nascimento

    no, i don't. i'm spend lots of time in my twitter, FB and Iphone. I don't feel that i have quit or decrease my access to that kind of thing yet.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  24. 2Cents

    Its your problem with what you do with your time.

    January 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  25. Andreas, Stockholm

    My NYresolution was to not have any restrictions whatsoever on what i want to consume, do or use my time for. I've started to see that we tend to create our own mental obstacles out of thin air and we would be much better off without them. If anything becomes problematic such as overuse of technology, overconsumtion of say tobacco, coffee, sweets or lack of exercise, sleep etc – deal with it but don't create those problems before they actually are a problem. Most important – don't feel guilty, that is not healthy. Happy 2011!

    January 13, 2011 at 8:44 am |

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