Create a Personal Technology Mission Statement in 3 Easy Steps

Weekly Challenge 1

Each Monday during this 31-day series, I’ll share a challenge related to becoming more intentional with technology.  I’ll be doing each of them and reporting back on my progress later in the week.  I hope some of you will join me!

The first challenge is to create a personal technology mission statement.  Having identified the “why” behind becoming more intentional with technology, a mission statement focused on action is a natural next step.  Before the phrase “mission statement” scares you away, allow me to explain that this is different from a super long, lofty description that takes a long time to write and has little carryover to our everyday actions… We all know at least one of that kind, right? 😉  To the contrary, the most effective mission statements I’ve encountered or even helped create have been short, sweet, and to the point – easy to remember and put into practice.  Which is the point, after all – an effective mission should lead to positive, lasting action.

Your mission statement will simply answer one question:  When it comes to the different ways you use technology on a regular basis, what does “ideal” look like for you?  I’ll share a simple formula below, but feel free to do whatever works best for your unique thinking and organizational style.

Create a Personal Technology Mission Statement in 3 Easy Steps: 

Step 1 – Where You Are:

  • Purposes & Priorities:  Quickly brainstorm/list your different roles and purposes for using technology.   Examples might include texting, creating work content, responding to emails, searching online, using apps for organization, viewing/sharing on social media, etc.  It may be helpful to put them in rank order by priority.
  • Tools & Time:  List the main tools (phone, tablet, laptop, specific apps, etc.) you normally use for the above purposes; note times of day you use them, or if used on a continual basis.  Don’t get bogged down in the details – just jot down the main ones.
  • Helpful & Harmful:  Identify positive and negative themes/patterns/habits across the above lists.  Are your actions contributing to positive work habits and relationships?  What are your biggest distractions?  Hindrances to productivity? Stress inducers?  Time wasters?  Relationship barriers?

Step 2 – Where You Want To Be:

Step 3 – Bridge the gap:

  • Action:  Now, for the fun part – actually creating your mission statement! Remember your guiding question:  When it comes to the different ways you use technology on a regular basis, what does “ideal” look like for you?  Jot down 2-5 simple statements that describe your ideal in clear, specific actionable terms.  Each sentence/phrase should state what you should be doing in your ideal life.  There’s no specific formula for this, as your mission statement should be written in a unique way that best motivates you to action.

My best advice from working on a general personal mission statement in the past is to pray before and during the process.  Ask the Lord to bring to your mind and heart the priorities you should focus on and/or changes that need to be made, in order to align your heart to His desires for you.  We can trust that His plans for our lives are for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11) and that they far outweigh any we can make on our own.

I hope I’ve inspired some of you to participate in this challenge alongside me!  Over the next few days I’ll break the process down step-by-step into 3-5 minute segments.  This will hopefully make a seemingly overwhelming task more manageable to fit into our busy schedules!

At the end, I’ll share my technology mission statement and invite you to do the same.  If you plan to participate, I encourage you to leave a comment saying, “I’m in!” 

Happy planning!!

 

 

Why TECHnically Intentional?

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My creative oldest daughter with her handmade “manual” computer

In 2017, technology is an integral part of our lives.  Stop for just a minute and think about all the ways you rely on technology from the time you wake up in the morning (me, to my iPhone alarm) to the time you fall asleep at night.  The advent of the iPhone a decade ago, and steadily decreasing prices of similar devices, has drastically changed the ways we use technology on a daily basis for work, play, and communication … for better and for worse.

As an educator, I’ve given lots of teacher workshops on instructional technology, a topic I’m very passionate about because of its powerful impact on students’ learning and engagement.  Ten+ years ago, I spent as much time convincing teachers they needed to use technology as on sharing strategies – because then it was truly a choice.  Nowadays, in the majority of first-world homes and schools, access to multiple technology tools is a given; it’s not if we’re going to use it, but how.  I try to stress to teachers that technology is simply a tool, much like a white board or textbook – we, as the users, hold full power over whether or not it’s used in meaningful, effective ways.

Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”  I desperately want to spend my life wisely, which means I must pay attention to how I spend my individual days, hours, and minutes.  In order to do that, I realize that I need to be intentional about making sure my long-term goals align with my daily actions.  And, if I’m honest with myself, like most people, there are days and seasons when I need to be more intentional with my uses of technology – from work, to texting, to consuming information, to scrolling on social media.

In goal setting, I’ve found that I do a much better job of following through with goals when I connect them to a deeper reason – the “why.”  Here are a few of my “why’s” in becoming more intentional with technology:

  1. My husband and two girls (ages 3 and 7) are my whole world, on this earth.  I want to honor my family with my time, uninterrupted presence, and eye contact as much as possible.  I do think it’s important to teach our kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that there are times I need uninterrupted time to make a phone call, send a text, or complete a work task.  But I want to strive for clearer balance between screen and face time with those I love the most.  I want my kids and husband to know, without a doubt, they’re more important than anything behind a screen. Equally important, I keep reminding myself that my husband and I have to build and model our self-discipline with technology, if we expect our daughters to do the same.
  2. As a follower of Jesus, I truly want to fulfill “the greatest commandment:”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).  I need to make sure my habits and actions line up with the level of commitment to the Lord that I speak with my mouth and desire in my heart.  If my time/attention to things on-screen outweigh my time/attention with Him, I need to make some changes.
  3. I want to make a difference in the world!  I have dreams, goals, and passions the Lord has placed in my heart to live out for his glory.  However, “Dreams don’t work unless you do” (John Maxwell).  We all get 24 hours in a day – no more, no less.  I need to make sure I’m maximizing my time in ways that matter… and closely examine how technology plays into that equation.
  4. As much as I believe in the importance of hard work, I want (and need) to cultivate rest.  We were not made to be robots; our bodies, brains, and souls need regular “unplugged” time to rest and reset.

So, what’s your “why” in becoming more intentional with technology?  Did you resonate with any of my reasons above?  I’d love to hear in the comments!