Tech Tuesday

Never Out of Touch

Technology in agriculture today has us connected all the time, is that a good thing?

Readers of this blog know that I like technology, and have since I was a kid. Admittedly back then technology was more dream than reality, but today we are 'living the dream' when it comes to the technology in agriculture we can access. Sometimes that tech dream can be a kind of nightmare.

Last week I was with a group of forward-thinking folks as part of a meeting with key people at Penton, our new owners. Great fun, great learning and a lot of interesting insights. One topic I heard a couple of times in casual conversation is the rise of the need to disconnect.

There are actually folks who choose vacations and time off where they cannot get email. I know I define time off as 'without email' which is an interesting concept because when you return you can be inundated with that email. Farmers actually have some flexibility, you can effectively disconnect during busy times, but do you disconnect when it's time for fun?

As we delve into this tech field world, we are going to want to determine our new boundaries. A connected-all-the-time life may not be the best choice. And that's not an anti-tech sentiment, it's about determining when you connect.

I have worked in a home office since 1990, which requires its own form of discipline. For me that means setting boundaries, which in an office job isn't always easy since you are at the whim of the schedule of others. For me it's as simple as disconnecting from email and the phone for an hour at noon. Sounds a little lazy, though you will find me online many days at 5:30 a.m. I think of it more as a mental break.

That time away from external issues with work is important so I can grapple with the challenges and opportunities of the job more effectively. It's the same for most of us.

How are you separating yourself from the pressures of work?

In the past separating yourself from those pressures was as simple as stepping off the tractor and sitting under a tree for lunch. Today, with increased office time, smart phones and more external forces absorbing your time that's a lot more difficult.

Think about your normal - not a no-sleep, go-full-out planting week - and determine ways you can get that mental health break. We're the ones who are supposed to rule this technology.

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