It’s tough sometimes to put the right first things first. Especially if you’re at all like me and into gadgets. It doesn’t matter if it’s ministry or business, marketing or networking, we can all fall into what I call the Gadget Trap. The Gadget Trap is best defined as allowing the technology to paralyze us rather than being empowered to use technology as a means to an end.

In any organization or department, you’re goal is to use technology to benefit your current state of affairs. However sometimes we implement new software, new equipment or new gadgets just because they’re… well new!

When we get into a mode where we have to keep up with the technology of everyone else or we have to use specific software because it seems that “everyone” uses it, we’re adopting technology for the wrong reasons. Technology should increase our flexibility and reliability, not just make us look cool.

Too smart to be a watch.

Forever, I’ve been really critical of smart watches. The first kickstarter project I ever invested in happens to also be the top kickstarter funded project in the history of the company (that’s actually how I heard about the project, was the massive success). [source] It was the Pebble Smartwatch. The pitch was that it would simplify my life because I wouldn’t have to always pull out my phone, because my wrist would vibrate for me. Wow. How convienent that would be.

Except that I never realized that would happen when every notification I receive would show up on my wrist. Let me take you back to a lunch I was having with a mentor of mine a few years ago.

We were sitting down at one of my favorite lunches and he was sharing his incredible insight and wisdom with me. Though I’m not exactly sure of the topic we were on that day, it often is centered around challenging business situations, leadership philosophy and his stories ‘in the trenches’ of things he’s learned the hard way. He is a few years older than me, and I felt like the hip-young entrepreneur with my brand new white pebble watch resting perfectly on my wrist.

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About 20 minutes into our lunch Andrew stopped and said “Do you have somewhere you need to be? I don’t want to eat up too much of your time.”

This wasn’t the first time he had asked me that, so I didn’t think any different of the question, dismissing it of course that I was excited to be spending time with him, amongst HIS busy schedule.

But only a few minutes later, he stopped mid sentence while telling me a story and asked “Are you ready to get out of here?”

This was a complete surprise to me. I had no clue why he was insistent about me getting somewhere, so I responded with “oh no! I actually don’t have anything left on my schedule today, and enjoy being with you.” He didn’t respond and took a second to pause and continue eating.

He then said the line that put everything in perspective:

“Well you keep looking at your watch, so I just want to respect your time.”

I felt awful. Completely stopped in my tracks, realizing how inconsiderate  I was in that moment. My desire to have the latest and greatest technology, look cool in front of my mentor, was the exact thing that rendered me absent from the conversation. Because every time my wrist vibrated to some dumb tweet that mentioned me or another email hitting my inbox, I was distracted. I looked at my watch.

You see technology should empower us to be present, not removed. And in this moment, I was caught by the gadget trap.

Technology should empower us to be present, not removed.

The Gadget Trap Reversed

It’s the gadget trap that makes us compare ourselves to others.

It’s the gadget trap that allows us to get so wrapped up in the latest version, and not the greatest version.

It’s the gadget trap that causes us to miss people and miss appropriate our focus.

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The gadget trap we allow ourselves to get into causes us to avoid the present and miss prosperity. I’d rather both of those than looking popular or pompous. Relationships are too important for technology to steal our opportunities.

What is the gadget trap that is stealing your attention? How have you allowed the desire to be up to date drain you of your opportunities?

Technology that doesn’t increase flexibility, reliability and effectiveness, both in person and in virtualization, should be avoided.