There’s an Eagles song called “Learn to be Still.” That’s something I think most of us Americans could learn to do. We’re always busy, and we’re always “plugged in.”

We have our desktop Macs, our laptop Macs, our iPods, our iPads, our iPhones. We’re always talking, emailing, looking up stuff, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel guilty if I’m not doing anything.

There’s a saying (though I’m not sure who said it) that “there’s no clocking out if you’re always plugged in.” And while most Americans say devices like smartphones, cellphones and personal computers have made their lives better and their jobs easier, some say they have been intrusive, increased their levels of stress and made it difficult to concentrate, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll (

The nationwide poll was conducted May 6-9, using both land-line phones and cellphones. Interviews were conducted with 855 adults, of whom 726 said they used a personal computer or had a smartphone.

Almost 40% check work e-mail after hours or on vacation. About a third of those polled said they couldn’t imagine living without their computers.
While most of those polled said the use of devices had no effect on the amount of time they spent with their family, a few were concerned. One-in-seven married respondents said the use of these devices was causing them to see less of their spouses. And 1-in-10 said they spent less time with their children under 18.

Younger people are particularly affected: almost 30% of those under 45 said the use of these devices made it harder to focus, while less than 10% of older users agreed.

So maybe we should have a National Unplugged Day in which we turn off the electronic gadgets, read a book, visit a friend, go for a walk, that sort of thing. Or maybe …

Wait. I’m getting a cellphone call on my iPhone, a Facebook message on my Mac and an email on my iPad. I’ll pick up these thoughts later …

— Dennis Sellers