By Pat Rossiter, YOUTH Forum Program Manager
I should be in bed. No, really. I'm tired. It's late. Somehow though, here I sit writing and blog post. When I'm done with this I'll probably watch some TV, definitely check my email, breeze by my facebook feed and will likely be interrupted by an instant message which I will feel obligated to respond to.
All of it will be of some relative importance. I will need some time to clear my head so I can sleep and TV has a certain brain clearing effect. Email, facebook and instant messages from my friends, family and work convey important and relevant information.
If you know Steven Covey's 7 Habits (of Highly Effective People, of teens, of families, left handed midgets, the list goes on) you might remember the quadrant with important to unimportant on one axis and urgent to not urgent on the other. The plan is to take your tasks and put them in the right box. Rescue monkey from burning tree? This is both important and urgent so it should be done first. Pet kitten? Neither urgent nor important, then it can wait. (No offense to those who find petting kittens urgent and important....Sooner or later, I'm sure I will post something about service animals for nervous people.)
All that being said, I'm still a relatively good judge of what is important. What has degraded is my ability to distinguish between urgent and not. I like to consider myself a "digital native" and have lived most of my life under the watchful eyes of computers. Though, "What are you doing Dave?" while that big, creepy, red eye stares unblinking, still freaks me out. In my life time, we have gone from a rotary-dial, olive green, wall phone that I would run for out of fear of missing a call--If someone had called, surely it WAS important--to carrying around a "phone" which also will send pictures, text messages, will check my email and allows me to screen my calls and then, if need be check a voice mail....NOW! I know I'm not the only one.
The problem, or one of the problems at least, is that we are paying for this immediacy in lost hours of sleep. Big deal right? Well, actually it may actually be.
Feeling a little stressed? Maybe like you are descending into madness? Perhaps a nap?
How about the kids? Hyper? Out of Control? It's bedtime.
It seems obvious to me that the one single activity we do more than any other (thank you evolution) is probably pretty important for us.