Is Technology Improving our Lives or Hindering Relationships?

The website www.mindbodygreen.com published an article in December 2015 by Vishnu Subramaniam, referencing technology and how it really is hindering our experiences and relationships.

technology

11 Things You Think Are Improving Your Life (But Are Actually Messing is Up)

source http://www.mindbodygreen.com  by Vishnu Subramaniam

Each year, as we continue to live larger lives with more distractions, more work, more technology, more stuff — it gets easier and easier to forget about what really matters — peace of mind, serenity, and inner joy. Instead, we keep striving to work just a bit more, to squeeze in one more happy hour, to buy one more fancy toy. More is more, right?

I propose a radical alternative to this way of thinking. I think all this stuff is standing in the way of true fulfillment. It’s a distraction. What we really need to be happier is less.

Do less. Be more.

To help you start ridding your life of superfluous accessories, commitments, and pursuits that might be keeping you from uncovering your true bliss, I’ve listed 12 things to stop accumulating this year.

It’s not necessarily about going from a mansion to a bedsit, or from a jam-packed social calendar to the lifestyle of a hermit. It’s about recognizing small opportunities for change and taking them. Little by little, that process will transform your life.

  1. Stuff

The more “stuff” you have, the more space in your mind is occupied by worries and strategies regarding those things and how to protect them. Look around your closets, your desk, your apartment, and your office. Theoretically, you could probably get rid of about 90 percent of the things you own, with the only difference you notice being all the space you suddenly have.

Any time you recognize that something in your space isn’t serving a clear purpose, donate it or toss it. Over time, you’ll streamline your space and your thinking.

  1. Multitasking

The more efficient you try to be, the more you try to multitask — a trader making phone calls while reviewing two screens on his desk is an obvious example — the less engaged you are with what’s actually happening around you. Multitasking is the enemy of focus. Turn off superfluous notifications while you’re trying to get things done. Focus on one item at a time, putting the most important things first.

Prioritize. Stop multitasking. Be present with the task at hand.

  1. Technology

Speaking of distractions, technology is the worst culprit of all — not to mention one of the most frequent stressors we deal with on a daily basis. Most of us don’t spend more than five minutes away from a screen all day.

Try turning off your technology for an hour or two. If your job requires you to be glued to a computer, turn off one piece of tech. If you really can’t do that, take half an hour to walk outside, or eat lunch somewhere with natural light. Your life should be better because of technology, not worse. And limiting superfluous interactions with it will create more space for enjoyment and inspiration in the rest of your life.

  1. Work

This doesn’t mean turning into a slacker. It means being more strategic.

We tend to fit the work given into the time allotted. Make leaving your office by a certain time each day a priority. It will force you to be more strategic in the way you use your time, and provide more time to do the things you want to do outside the office.

  1. Comparisons

It’s natural to feel the urge to compare yourself to your neighbors, your colleagues, the people you went to high school with.

Regardless of how someone else’s life looks, odds are they haven’t figured out any more than you have. You aren’t behind. You’re not doing anything wrong. Focusing on your own goals and honing strategies to achieve them is much more likely to lead to success than spending your time worrying about the progress other people are making.

It’s the best — and maybe the only — way to stay true to yourself and live an authentic life.

  1. Busyness

It’s great to be self-sufficient. But most of us devote so much time to getting ahead that we put our relationships on the back burner. We don’t prioritize family or community, though they are by far the most rewarding parts of life.

Find places you can trim your commitments in other areas and increase the amount of time you spend with family, volunteering, or working with the community. Don’t prioritize based on what seems urgent. Prioritize based on what is important.

  1. Social media

It wastes time and negatively affects self-esteem. Give yourself a daily limit for the number of visits or amount of time spent checking social accounts. Fill that time with phone calls to family or a coffee date with an old friend. (Introverts get much more satisfaction from one-on-one conversations than from superficial chatter or “small talk.”)

  1. Noise

It’s almost never silent in our world. Music in the car, open office spaces, TV for “background noise” at home. It’s even noisy in the doctor’s office and in line at the pharmacy.

Find a few minutes for quiet each day. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll grow to revel in it. You’ll be surprised how many insights you can have in even just 10 minutes of silent reflection. Notice, too, how much more peaceful you feel after just a few minutes of silence.

  1. News

Your TV, your homepage, your gas station, your iPhone — Even when you’re intentionally limiting superfluous technology use, you can’t escape up-to-the-minute news about what’s happening in the world. And most of these stories are intentionally told from angles designed to prey on your emotions. You express what you ingest. So, practice ignoring click-bait and sob stories you see and read dozens of times a day. Like with any habit, it soon won’t even require will power to just soar past.

Fill your mind with uplifting, energizing content. And if you feel like you’re missing out on a certain level of information that’s necessary to thrive in your world, give yourself a certain amount of time per day, from a news outlet you can trust, to catch up on what’s happened. Don’t let other people’s perceptions of reality overtake your life. It really does make a difference.

  1. Judgements

One of the most destructive things about the tendency to compare is a reliance on judgment of others for your own self-esteem. If our lives look “better” than someone else’s, we can assuage our own insecurities with a temporary feeling of superiority. It’s not real, and it won’t last.

Be inspired by the success of others and extend compassion to those who need it. Replace anger and hostility with empathy, compassion, and understanding.

  1. Commitments

It’s really tempting to say “yes!” to everything. Committing to too many things eventually makes you unfit for everything. Yes, investing more in your family and in yourself is a commitment. But doing that well requires you to relinquish commitments that are less important in the long run.

Why not do a few things really well instead of doing everything halfheartedly?

Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you care about? Set fewer goals and focus your attention on the handful of things you’re really passionate about. Learn to let the rest go.

Do less. Be more.

 

Unplugging for the Holidays

Presented by TP Mechanical | Provided by HORAN

Constant connection to technology and personal mobile devices can be fun and helpful—think text messages and GPS—but being tethered to your smartphone, laptop or tablet can also increase stress, lead to reduced physical activity and decrease your ability to focus on the people around you. Less stress and more time to have fun with your family are a few of the benefits of unplugging. Here are a few tips to help you unplug for the holidays (or at least reduce your screen time):

 

  • Social media on SmartphoneLeave your cell phone and laptop in another room, or at least turn off notifications and temporarily delete social media apps to reduce temptation.
  • Tell your family and friends that you’re unplugging for the holidays; they might even join you for a technology-free vacation.
  • Set a specific, limited amount of time when you can access your work email, if you absolutely must check in.
  • Plan technology-free activities—try playing board games, going sledding or bike riding, baking cookies, reading a book, hosting a karaoke night at home or reviving an old hobby.

Just Talk To Me

By Tom Wilson, CFO TP Mechanical

Communication has become nothing more than a few typed words or symbols. Our culture has the lost art of speaking and holding an actual conversation. Everything is communicated by sending an email or text instead of actually utilizing the telephone for what it was intended for. Out the door are the face to face meetings, to actually talk to a customer, peer, or friend. We have become too busy.

Vintage Business People Talking On Can TelephoneToo many people rely on writing a quick text or email to start a discussion, begin a relationship, or argue with someone. Don’t get me wrong. Typing an email and texting are perfect for many situations such as, confirming an appointment, making sure information got to the right person, setting up a meeting, making a quick point, or just sending a kind word to a friend.

If you truly want to establish a relationship however, talking is the best way to go. Many “textoholics” would argue with me (usually via email) that this is not the case. They say, “I can make many more connections and be more productive using the electronic art of communication than any person can spending the time it takes to make a call or a face to face visit.” I contend it is more productive and satisfying to pick up a phone, ask questions, listen, and form a bond. By making that initial call, you can prevent the receiving party from misinterpreting what you were trying to say. In an email, things can be misinterpreted which leads to a second or third text or email explaining the first one. Productive… I think not.

bigstock-Two-business-colleagues-shakin-45670564I also strongly believe that emotions can be better delivered with words coming out of your mouth than from any keyboard. You can get more information and “feeling” from a short phone call than from any two-sentence message smattered with capital letters (for emotional effect) that any attorney would be proud of. I also think any customer, peer or friend would rather “hear” from you than “see” what you have to say. It might be a little more of an investment in time. In the long run though, this makes more of an impression.

I am don’t believe that I am not the only one who feels this way. I am absolutely sure most people today do not agree with me however. For those of you, who think I am just an old-fashioned Neanderthal that needs to get with the times, send me an email and let me know what you think. If you agree with what I believe… give me a call. I’d like to hear from you.

 

With BIM technology, it all comes together.

Every sophisticated machine has thousands of moving parts that come together to make a whole, working system.

A car, for example, is made up of an electrical system, an engine, a computer system, a transmission and systems for steering and suspension, to name a few. Each of these systems is comprised of complex parts and intricate details. Built separately and standing alone, they work flawlessly.

However, a car does not function unless each of these systems can be connected and integrated without error. The systems cannot be designed in isolation. They must be engineered to ensure that their pieces connect and work together.

A building is like a car. Behind the walls, many sophisticated systems are humming along individually and have been engineered to function cohesively. The plumbing has to fit around the HVAC system; the electrical lines have to be accessible; water and electricity must flow seamlessly and control units must be easy to get to. All of these pieces have to fit behind the walls, among the building’s framework, beneath floors and above ceilings. BIM01

BIM (Building Information Modeling) makes all of this easier to design, manage and install. By allowing designers and engineers to create and integrate designs in a virtual 3-D environment, multiple trades can collaborate on one project, share designs digitally and virtually envision how the systems will combine within the space and coexist.

The benefits of this technology are numerous:

  • Multiple trades collaborate on comprehensive projects before the first pipe is welded, allowing for seamless integration of multiple systems and eliminating confusion on the jobsite at installation time.
  • The level of detail that we can design allows us to carefully plan for every contingency, eliminate waste, reduce time on the jobsite and cut costs associated with expensive errors and revisions.
  • New or upgraded systems can be designed and incorporated into existing buildings or blueprints with ease.
  • Custom parts can be designed to solve complex challenges that arise on a project.
  • Sophisticated custom systems such as corridor racks, medical gas walls, pump skids, water heater packages, pipe racks and underground systems can be designed and fabricated in the controlled environment of a manufacturing facility.

At one time in the construction business, each of these systems was designed, manufactured and installed separately. Engineers designed systems using paper blueprints and conceptualized the integration of their system with others in their minds’ eye using careful calculation. To visualize how it would all fit together in final layout, other system design blueprints were printed on tracing paper and layered over one another.

When it came time to install and integrate the systems, the job site was clogged with tradesmen, confusion was typical, and errors arose – all causing time-consuming and expensive delays.

BIM02Thankfully, the technological advancement of BIM has made these headaches a thing of the past.

The applications of BIM technology are exponentially versatile. The TP Mechanical design/build team has extensive expertise utilizing BIM to the benefit of all of our clients and has solved the toughest of challenges by optimizing little-known BIM capabilities.

Ultimately, BIM technology is invaluable to us as we strive to save our clients time and money. It’s a crucial tool that allows TP Mechanical to deliver innovative solutions and speed projects to completion. In short, BIM is the glue that makes a project’s multiple moving parts – trades, timelines, systems and budgets – come together faultlessly.

Time Management Tips

It seems like everyone is overwhelmed with tasks these days.  And everyone is trying to find an extra hour or two in the day just so they can get everything done.  Unfortunately, 25 hour days only happen once a year, so the odds are you will not find those extra hours for the day.  Hopefully at least one of these time management tips will help you to be able to get that 1 more task done in the day.

Complete major tasks first.  Start your day with one of the big, important tasks and then go onto smaller and less important tasks.  By first focusing on the large tasks you will get them complete in a shorter space of time and then will be able to deal with smaller tasks, whereas if you start with the smaller tasks you will soon find them filling up your day and not having time left to do the larger tasks.

Check your email and/or other messages on a schedule.  It’s not effective to answer every message as it arrives.  Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to them immediately.  People want a predictable response, not an immediate response.  So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of messages just a few times a day.  Change your outgoing voicemail message to let people know what times you will be checking your messages and during what hours you will be returning calls.

Eliminate distractions.  Each time a distraction occurs, it takes time to refocus your attention to the task at hand.  The biggest culprits are technology distractions.  Turn off email notifications, put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ and put away your cell phone.  To turn off email notifications in Outlook, click on Tools, then Options.  On the preference tab, in the E-mail section, click on the “E-mail Options. . .” button.  Click on the “Advanced E-Mail Options. . .” button.  Look for the “When new items arrive in my Inbox” area, check or uncheck all the notifications you want to receive.

Know when you work your best.  Each person has a best time.  You can discover yours by monitoring your productivity over a period of time.  Then you need to manage your schedule to keep your best time free for your most important work.

Do tasks that take less than 5 minutes immediately.  Effective time management means that if you have a task you need to do that is going to take a few minutes to complete then do it as soon as your receive it, this way you will get the small things out of the way and not need to think about them.

Remember that it is impossible to get everything done.  Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations, and activities produce 80 percent of your results.

 

For questions, feedback or ideas on future tips please email TPMCAcademy@tpmechanical.com.

Tip of the Week from TP Mechanical Academy: Sharing Documents

Sharing DocumentsEmailing a document is the fastest way of sharing information with another person or group of people.  But did you know there are several different ways to share a document with another person?  Here is a list of three methods with step by step instructions on how to use each method.

Attach document as a link:

This is the preferred method for internal communications (if the person or persons you are sending the document to have access to the server where the document is stored).  Sharing links rather than the actual file prevents the creation of multiple versions of the same file and prevents loss of changes when multiple people are making edits.  This is also a good method when the document is too large to email due to the size restrictions on email attachments.

  • Start a new email in Microsoft Outlook
  • When your cursor is in the body of the email, click on the insert tab
  • Click on hyperlink
  • Find the document you want to send in the directory
  • Highlight the document you want to send and click ok
  • Send your email

Attach a word, excel or other document:

This method should be used only if you want the person you are sending the document to have the ability to make changes.  If you are sending a document to a person outside of the company and want to ensure that the information cannot be changed, use the next method to attach a document as a PDF.

  • Start a new email in Microsoft Outlook
  • Either click on the paperclip marked attach file or click on the insert tab and click on the paperclip marked attach file
  • Find the document you want to send in the directory
  • Highlight it, click on insert, complete and send your email

Attach a word or excel document as a PDF:

If you are sending a document to a person outside of the company and want to ensure that the information cannot be changed, attach a document as a PDF.

  • From word, excel or the applicable program open your document
  • Click on the Microsoft office button
  • Click send and choose email as PDF attachment
  • Complete the rest of your email and send

For questions, feedback or ideas on future tips please email TPMCAcademy@tpmechanical.com