Technology: Focus on Your Needs and Keep It Simple

  Technology can actually make you less productive. Find out how to regain control and make technology work for you.


Do you feel like you’re in control of your technology or is your technology in control of you? This is Erika Salloux from, and I am going to tell you a Zen way, a major mantra that you can use, to get control of your technology and have it work for you better in your life.

Don’t Let Technology Dictate The Needs

So of course, when I say Zen you probably do think that is a little about mindful and being present, and it is, and also having less. A lot of times we let the technology dictate the need, instead of the need dictating the technology. So what do I mean by that? You’ve probably already figured it out, maybe not, but it’s that when you say to yourself ‘you know what, I actually really need to scan stuff and be able to send it to people, so I need a scanner’ as opposed to ‘you know what, I need an app that will make coffee’ when you don’t even drink coffee. Or ‘you know I think it would be really great if I can do puzzles and stuff with my friends who are in France’. How many people thought of that? But you know what, there’s loads of games out there where people are spending lots of their time, wasting their time I would say, playing games with people they don’t even know instead of being outside meeting real people or running their business and doing those things they need to be doing.

How Necessary Is The Technology We Think We Need?

So once again, really think about if you need an app for something or you have a desire for something in your life, then go out and look for the technology, but if you see something that’s out there and you’re like ‘wow that’s super cool’ but you never really needed it. I know a lot of people for instance that have apps that you know they can be at the movies and they can turn their lights off at home, but did we really need that? Like how many times you really need to be out about changing your lights and turning things off and on in your home. And, it creates a lot more work for you. So the more technology we have in our life, the more unpresent we are and the more time it takes up.

Technology Is Making Us Less Productive

Matt Richtel, who is a Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times best-selling author, he explained it from all his research that he did with a lot of top scientists, that we all have a lot of technology coming in our life that’s like cotton candy, and really we need to have more broccoli in our lives. And with all the technology that we have we are often using in ways that are not really helpful, not making us more productive, and making us more distracted as I’ve already talked about. And if you combine that with the work of Edward Hallowell, who’s a Massachusetts ADD expert, like world renowned ADD expert, he actually explains about how when we get more hits of things, like from our phone, from our computers, more tweets, and we have all these alerts on, our body gets a hit of dopamine every time that happens to us. The more hits of dopamine that we get, the more we need to get a little bit of arousal or excitement.
So we’re becoming a nation of really bored people – that’s why you see people when the plane lands and everyone takes out their phone, because they need that hit of dopamine because they have risen their level.
The more that you’re attached to your devices and the more alerts that you have, often times I’m having people shut off their alerts when I work with them, especially entrepreneurs who have double what a lot of other people have, they can be like more grounded and they don’t get as many hits of dopamine and their level will eventually go down. Because most of our levels are way higher than they used to be 10 or 15 years ago. So think about it, if we’re more addicted and we have a more things to look at and more technology and more apps and more things that we didn’t even know we needed, we actually end up being less productive because we’re becoming addicted. Once again, just think to yourself, ‘did I like invent this need or did I really have this need?’ before you actually take on a new operating piece of software.

Have One App Per Task

You can ask yourself these questions if you want to start eliminating things. If you haven’t used something in the last six months, delete it. Only have one app for your tasks, one application or one piece of software that you’re using for your apps. So I say ‘one life, one calendar’. So have one piece of software, one piece of technology, for a calendar. And if it has to sync with someone else’s that’s fine, but don’t have more than one, because that just creates more chaos in your life. So cut down on the cutting-edge.

About Erika Salloux

Erika is a Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®) who is the founder and president of Living Harmony, LLC. Since 2003 she has gotten people organized so they can live their desires and purpose.

Employing her holistic and coach-centered approach to organizing, Erika conducts transformative speaking programs. Her signature EmpoweredTime™ process leads those looking for a more calm, grounded, and focused reality to increased health, serenity, and productivity. Participants learn how to banish paper clutter for good using her PaperPower™ system. And her JetPac© method transforms packing and traveling from stress to simplicity for all kinds of vacationers, trekkers, and business travelers.

Erika regularly contributes to Boston-area and national media outlets. Her appearances include NPR, NECN, CBS, FOX, WUMB, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and The Boston Globe. She has acted as an organizing consultant for Real Simple.

Erika’s clients have included those at Harvard University, Wellesley College, Boston University, Suffolk University, Tufts University, Cambridge Health Alliance, Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P., Cambridge Savings Bank, Museum of Fine Arts, Prudential, Putnam Investments, Raytheon, Houghton Mifflin, Pottery Barn Kids, IBM, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, New England Cable News, National Labor Relations Board, and the Transportation Security Administration.

Erika is an active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and a member of its Golden Circle. Her NAPO positions have included Leader of the Speaking for Fees special interest group and the Golden Circle Liaison to NAPO-New England’s Programming Committee. Her past NAPO-NE positions have included the Co-Chair of the Programming Committee and Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee.

Since 2009, she has been an active and loyal member of Holistic Organizers, a group of international organizers who integrate spiritual and holistic principles and practices into their work and advocate for a compassionate, heart-centered approach to organizing.

Prior to launching Living Harmony, Erika held positions at WBUR and the Public Radio International show “From the Top,” respectively. Her rich and varied public broadcasting life has also included working on such programs as “Sessions at West 54th” and “Humankind.” Before that she was a music industry publicist and artist manager working with performers as diverse as John Mellencamp and EMF.

Erika holds a BS in Mass Communications from Boston University’s College of Communication.

Erika’s other passions include her inquisitive and interspiritual spiritual life, nurturing consciousness, creating and sharing meals with her friends and family, dancing all over the place, yoga, meditation, all sorts of music, spontaneous travel to varied destinations, tennis, theatre, film, and swimming in almost any body of water, but especially an ocean or sea. Embracing life through an open heart is always her desire.