Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with Daniel Sih author of Spacemaker - how to unplug, unwind and think clearly in the digital age...
In this episode Daniel Sih and I talk with you about why we have a love hate relationship with technology when it comes to productivity...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I interview Daniel Sih. Daniel talks with you about how we can overdose on technology and what to do about it. Daniel also shares with you how his understanding of God influences how he views productivity. I also ask Daniel to share with you how our productivity has a love hate relationship with technology.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS 156: Saturday Night Special - Interview with Daniel Sih author of Spacemakers
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome to tonight. Saturday night, special episode 156.
[00:00:05] Daniel Sih: I'm Daniel Sih, and I'm passionate about helping busy people make space in the whirlwind of life by shifting the way they live and work. And in a post COVID world that involves rethinking and redesigning our digital habits. I challenge you to invest in your. In others and in our world, by using your time, your talents and your treasure to live out your calling, having the ability to use technology well, without letting it take over your life is so important.
[00:00:37] And one way to be inspired to do this is to listen to the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.
[00:00:46] What's on the news and scrolling like that changes the trajectory of our life. As opposed to let's say same Ignatian rhythm, where we start and end with silence and prayer so those little habits play out into big habits, but they [00:01:00] are, they're designed in the, in. They're designed in the technology themselves.
[00:01:04] And I won't go into that cuz that's a huge topic.
[00:01:07] Scott Maderer: Welcome. And thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true caller in the inspired stewardship podcast, who will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence.
[00:01:30] So that. Can impact the world.
[00:01:33] And tonight's Saturday night special. I interviewed Daniel C. Daniel talks with you about how we can overdose on technology and what we can do about it. Daniel also shares with you his understanding of God and how it influences his view of productivity. I also asked Daniel to share with you how our productivity has this love, hate relationship with te.
[00:01:57] One area that a lot of folks need [00:02:00] some help with is around the area of productivity. Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right things done can be really tough. I've got a course called productivity for your passion. That's designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more done, but actually getting the right things done.
[00:02:31] What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your person. Because the truth is a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type. But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work, but there's tools and techniques and approaches that you can take that will work for anyone.
[00:02:59] And we [00:03:00] help you do that and productivity for your passion. Check it out email@example.com slash launch. Daniel is the co-founder of Spacemaker a productivity consulting group for busy leaders, his book. Spacemaker how to unplug, unwind and think clearly in the digital age, won the best personal development book in Australia in 2021.
[00:03:25] In the Australian business book awards and was finalists for best technology book and best cover design as a trainer, coach, and keynote speaker, Daniel has worked with CEOs, executives, and other senior professionals around the world. He's also a bivocational church pastor. With a broad professional history, including physiotherapy health management, project management and Christian ministry.
[00:03:50] Daniel is the founder of a number of best selling productivity courses, like email ninja list, assassin priority samurai, and Spacemaker with [00:04:00] more than 15,000 students online and off. He lives in Tasmania Australia with his wife, Kylie and three children, Naomi, Caleb, and death row, living in community with another family.
[00:04:12] Daniel also keeps 14 purebred chickens who eat a lot of grain and lay way too few eggs. Welcome to the show, Daniel. Yeah. Thank
[00:04:20] Daniel Sih: you, Scott. Thanks for having me here.
[00:04:23] Scott Maderer: So we talked a little bit about it in the intro, but what brought you to the point today where you're working on helping folks be more productive, helping people be more effective, and then specifically doing that without.
[00:04:38] ODing on technology.
[00:04:41] Daniel Sih: Yeah, look it was a strange journey as often career journeys go. I used to be a physiotherapist, actually a physical therapist in the states. I think you call it and yeah. And I enjoy that other
[00:04:53] Scott Maderer: people call them torture people. Yeah. That's a whole nother conversation.
[00:04:57] Daniel Sih: yeah. Very similar to a productivity [00:05:00] consultant really and I enjoyed it, but I, and I always felt like I. I don't know, working from my left hand, it just didn't quite fit me. And then I ended up in a physiotherapy management role and then went into health management. And again I was like a pig in modern.
[00:05:14] It just fit my strengths and my skills. And I found that there was a number of areas where I was. Thriving, but people around me were struggling and I couldn't work out why some of the things that I found a little intuitive were so not intuitive in terms of structure and organizing and thinking about your goals and making sure your decisions were aligned with your longer term values and that type of stuff.
[00:05:37] But one area I really struggled with was email and I realized that I'd. What four years as an undergraduate physio, and then many years studying anatomy and kinesiology and all these wonderful subjects. But when it came to my actual job as a manager of a physio service, I probably spent a quarter of my time reading and responding to this thing called email.
[00:05:59] [00:06:00] And no one had given me any training whatsoever on how to manage high volume email. And so I went for into a deep dive of the research and started to discover, wow, you can actually. Learn a tool let's say like email or to do lists or prioritization and actually really transform the way in which you experience your work.
[00:06:18] It can transform your ability to achieve your goals or your calling and those skills that, that kind of shifting the way you live and work can transform you on that took me on a journey where I fell in love with the idea of improving people's productivity and improving my productivity.
[00:06:34] And that eventually became a consulting.
[00:06:36] Scott Maderer: A lot of times when people think about getting better with getting more done, getting productivity better, getting better at time management, however you wanna phrase it. One of the questions they always have is, so what app do you use or what
[00:06:51] Daniel Sih: tool do you use to
[00:06:53] Scott Maderer: do X, Y, Z?
[00:06:55] Where do you fall? And that idea of how does the [00:07:00] tool fit into it versus. other things about getting more productive.
[00:07:05] Daniel Sih: Yeah. So I never, I almost never start with the tool because it's always about the habits for me. And the habits need to be aligned with your broader values and goals and kingdom calling.
[00:07:15] So in terms of habits that again came out of that, you said I was a torturer, it's probably true, but physiotherapy essentially is. Motivating physical habit change in people. And what I quickly realized is I could do the right treatment and I could give people the right treatment plan, the right exercises.
[00:07:34] But most of the time, people, if I'm really honest, they just didn't do it. And the gap is the habits that people create in their lives. And like James clear says we are almost the sum of our habits. We're the sum of a hundred thousand habits. And that's the truth for that's true for people who follow Jesus.
[00:07:53] It's true for people who are working in the world it's true for a whole productive nature of how we live and work. And [00:08:00] so if we. Yeah, it's not about the app. The app is the last it's at the end of the assembly line. And it's the habits through which you use the app that will change like your worldview and the way in which you achieve stuff.
[00:08:13] Scott Maderer: So that, that brings us too you mentioned faith in there a little bit. You're also a. A pastor. And you do bivocational work around that. How does that interact? How does your your faith on one end and your understanding of God? How does that influence how you approach the work you do as a productivity consultant?
[00:08:35] Daniel Sih: Yeah, I see it. I see it very similarly aligned. Actually, I know that being a church pastor and being a business owner may seem distinct. But I, I see a great connection actually, between what I do. In the church world and what I do everywhere else. And and if I think about it making space.
[00:08:55] So I'm a, my business is called space makers and I'm passionate. My why is to help busy [00:09:00] people make space in the clutter of life. And it's about helping them think deeply and restfully reflect on their values and their why, and to live well. And I see a real connection. Like I say, in the kingdom of God, there won't.
[00:09:14] Email notifications and there's not gonna be hurried frantic work. You're not gonna have infinity scrolling in God's kingdom and when heaven comes on earth, we're not gonna be, if there hell, that'll be right. Exactly. Yeah. And so look it's obviously not religious language from a business perspective, but the heartbeat is to help people really just sit and be, and to know who they are.
[00:09:40] And. To become the people to live out the life that they're meant to live, not someone else's life, which is just so common in our world, that people are living other people's scripts, other people's life. And they're not making space to think deeply about their own life and ex exploring the inner life themselves.
[00:09:57] And therefore they end up [00:10:00] chasing their tail forever and not being not being the person that, that they're really called to be. What do
[00:10:06] Scott Maderer: you what do you think about because you mentioned creating space to, to think and to do other things, how do you approach those habits around mindfulness?
[00:10:19] When it comes to
[00:10:21] Daniel Sih: productivity? Yeah. I love I'm a big believer in silence and solitude. I remember in the pre-interview I think you said you were a gregarious introvert, is that the word you used? Something like
[00:10:33] Scott Maderer: that. Yeah. which I really that's lock your
[00:10:35] Daniel Sih: description. Yeah. And I certainly resonated with that.
[00:10:39] I'm deeply introverted and. Yet I love community So I had this kind of passion for communal living and also a passion for silence and solitude of of withdrawing. But I've forgotten your question now. I think my answer was around silence and solitude the need to even if you're an [00:11:00] extrovert to, to withdraw and to turn off your technology and to make space away from the business of the world and allow.
[00:11:06] Yourself to feel your own feelings and think the thoughts that you have and obviously reflect on who God is. If you are someone who sees the world in that way, yeah, it was about creating that space to. To be silent and listen, and why that's important. So I think that you answered the question and even if you forgot it in the middle it is very early in Australia right now.
[00:11:27] So if I forget a question, it is simply because I'm waking up. As we speak. Yeah. It's
[00:11:34] Scott Maderer: in the interesting thing, anytime you're interviewing people in other countries is you occasionally get to have the moment of so what's tomorrow because it's already tomorrow where you're talking to the person.
[00:11:45] When you think about and I this is related to that topic. When you think about how we interact with technology and tools and the online world and all of. all of those [00:12:00] things especially as we're hopefully coming out of the pandemic and moving forward and that sort of thing.
[00:12:07] But we've had this period where we all were forced to go online, whether you wanted to or not how does that relationship that we have with technology and with the online world how does that affect what it, what we do when it comes to. Both productivity, as well as that understanding who we are and what our relationships are and the why, and that kind of thing as.
[00:12:30] Daniel Sih: Yeah, look and I'm, I think this is a really important concept for people to grasp. And it's one of the reasons I'm speaking on podcasts at the moment. I think the world has changed post COVID. Technology's incredible. And I just I shouted to think of what life would've been like in lockdown without the ability to communicate through zoom or other online mediums.
[00:12:49] And to be able to work. I was able to continue to work and actually expand my business from home when I wasn't able to go out and talk to people. So I'm so thankful for the [00:13:00] opportunities of digital tech, but at the same time something has changed. And it's been changing for a long time. I've been writing on this subject for seven years but I think it's become really prevalent this sense of digital overload this feeling that we're on our tools too much.
[00:13:15] We're uncomfortable with how our relationship with the online world is starting to change us and is starting to impact our ability to switch off and to be silent and to simply enjoy quiet or to be present with our family or friends that sense of being anxious or busy all the time and not necessarily feeling at peace.
[00:13:35] Does that make sense? And I'm seeing that more and more with the burnout and the great resignation and the tiredness post zoom. It's not just change fatigue. I think. It's technology fatigue, that's contributing to it. And so in terms of the relationship between technology and productivity, that's the key factor here.
[00:13:53] When I've looked at the research and looked at my coaching, imagine an upside down graph. So it's like an upside [00:14:00] down U which is a pretty typical graph, but this is what it looks like to map out productivity. Against digital technology. So you need to use tech to get productive. That's obvious.
[00:14:11] Okay. And so the, a bit of tech will make you more productive and imagine the graph going up, but then you reach this plateau where more technology doesn't make you more productive. You actually start to plateau and you experience this sense of limited returns. And I call that the productive middle it's like the technologies, the sweet spot.
[00:14:30] And if you keep using it. You're not gonna get more gains, but then what happens if you keep using it? If you spend more time online, if you reach for your phone, first thing in the morning and lasting at night. And if you're habitually checking email on the toilet, or do you know what I mean? Or checking email all through the weekend.
[00:14:47] If you're doing all those scrolling behaviors what happens is we hit digital overuse and you slide down the opposite side of the curve, where more productivity, more technology is making you less [00:15:00] happy. Less healthy and less productive. And all of that is in the research. And this is where our whole culture has gone.
[00:15:07] The all of culture has slid into this right side where I think the new normal now is digital overuse. And actually ironically, the way to become more productive is to learn, to unplug and make space as a habit. It's a different set of productivity skills. You need the skills of learning tech. Still cuz most of us still need to improve our tech skills to improve product.
[00:15:29] We also need another set. We need this space making habits, and that's really what the book is about how to unplug, unwind, and rest on a regular habitual basis to, to actually be more productive as well as human . So it's interesting
[00:15:43] Scott Maderer: because again, I think it comes back to that idea of when.
[00:15:48] If you use technology to leverage what you're doing and get more efficient and efficiency is defined as being [00:16:00] able to do something. Quickly and so it's you get on the zoom meeting and it doesn't take you four and a half minutes to figure out where the mute button is and that kind of thing you've learned to use the tool email.
[00:16:12] You've learned to use the tool in subway and manage it and do it that's that left hand side of the U that's the getting better piece part of it too is then isn't it mentally and emotionally, what do you do as you start creating. More getting better at, it means you have more time in a way.
[00:16:31] Not really, but you freed up time that used to be used other ways. And it's almost a choice of what do you do with that time that you freed up? Do you throw more stuff and more technology, or do you create some space and some quiet and some reflection and these sorts of things.
[00:16:48] Daniel Sih: Yeah, AB absolutely.
[00:16:49] I remember reading, I can't remember the person's name, but there was a politician in America in the 1950s or sixties that, that predicted that by the time we hit the 1990s [00:17:00] technology would get us to the point where the biggest problem that society would have. Is what to do with our spare time.
[00:17:06] And that actually hasn't
[00:17:08] Scott Maderer: worked, that's kinda not rock out. Exactly. . Yeah.
[00:17:12] Daniel Sih: And so it's this weird thing where the more effective and more efficient you become the higher, your expectations for life are firstly. And and there's this sense where it hasn't worked you can endlessly fill your cup with stuff and you'll never ever finish it.
[00:17:31] I think where we are, we're in a new normal, I, when I'm training people, I get a cup of water and I pour a water into it and I fill it and I let it keep spilling, which the OCD people in the room hate it. And the waters flows outta the cup onto the table onto the floor. And it's my way of saying, I actually think this is the way we live and work.
[00:17:47] Now that you'll never have enough time to look at everything you want to on Netflix, you'll never have enough time to get through your emails and achieve all these things that you almost feel like you have to do. And so the question comes down to [00:18:00] what really matters. What am I gonna put in my cup?
[00:18:02] And what am I gonna say no to. The problem is we are absolutely filling our cup with digital tech and we are pushing out the things that give us life historically spiritually research wise, like just being with people or being in silence and praying. Looking at a tree and enjoying, just observing the wonder of that simple experience.
[00:18:24] Bush walking, go for a walk without earbuds on . Yeah. Yeah. Walking and exercising without music. Yeah. Eating a meal without needing a phone to have the conversation. Like we, we've just we are becoming what Elon Musk calls he says we're already cyborgs and I think it's true.
[00:18:41] We are becoming cyborgs and. There's some wonderful things about being a sidewalk you can get a lot done. Sure. And but there are times where we're not meant to be sidewalks and there are aspects of humanity that are being lost by being online all the time. And that's what I wanna reclaim.
[00:18:57] So yeah, it's not about being efficient. It's actually about saying [00:19:00] no and setting limits to live the full life that I believe. Given as as people by God, let
[00:19:08] Scott Maderer: me ask you a question. We've talked a lot about productivity as we're getting to this point, but I realized we, I never actually asked you for your definition of the word, and I'm a big, bold firm believer in people should define their language when they used it.
[00:19:22] Because a lot of times we'll say something and we mean different things. How do you define the word productivity?
[00:19:26] Daniel Sih: I must admit, I don't really have a definition. It's prob it's certainly not getting more done. That's that's like playing Tetra. It'll never happen. You have finish it's probably getting the right things done it's and by that I choose.
[00:19:41] I almost think that the tools that I teach from a productivity perspective and the systems I give people for email and lists and all that stuff, it's actually not about doing those things. It's actually giving you a system so that you've got the confidence to say no and put them in their place and therefore have the space.
[00:19:59] To [00:20:00] invest in the other things that are really important. So just knowing who you are, what your longer term goals are, the calling that you have is and having enough of a system and enough processes so that you've got the confidence to, to pursue those things and let everything else go. I dunno if that connects, what, how would you define it?
[00:20:18] I define
[00:20:19] Scott Maderer: it as getting the right
[00:20:19] Daniel Sih: things done. That's simple.
[00:20:21] Scott Maderer: I should have just said that. Yeah. And I think the reason why for me, that's the definition and you said it beautifully it's I think oftentimes we think of productivity as getting more things done, but if you're getting the wrong things done, who really cares, if you're getting more of them done you can get more done, but if it's the wrong thing, then definitely it's not important at the end of the day, it doesn't move you where you want
[00:20:45] Daniel Sih: to.
[00:20:46] And I've changed I'm now in my mid forties. And actually I think the way I understood life has changed in the last 10 years as well. Even through the grief of losing a great friend and some of the things that often happens, and I've done a lot of reading [00:21:00] about how productivity and mindset changes throughout the ages and know, we're all gonna die.
[00:21:04] And we all, we're all gonna have to let go of success. We're all gonna have to let go of legacy. And some of the things. You pursue so heavily in your twenties and thirties and forties? I'm not saying that to be depressive but depressing, but I suppose getting the right things done for me, I'm almost at the stage where I care less about getting things done at all.
[00:21:23] And it's not that I'm not trying to achieve a lot. It's just. I don't know the simple things are becoming more important to me. And some of the huge goal stuff is still important. And I still achieve a lot actually in my life, but I is almost like the definition of what it means to. To have meaning your life in your life changes at different seasons as well.
[00:21:44] And I think that's really beautiful that you can just simply know that you're enough for me. It's because I'm a child of God I'm loved as I am. And I don't have, I'm safe by grace. I don't have to achieve everything in order to have meaning. And that gives me the ability to do the things I really love.
[00:21:58] Scott Maderer: It's [00:22:00] one of the things I've talked about on the podcast before is we often think of the word. Contentment and driven as opposites. If you're content you're not driven, if you're driven, you're not content And I contend that those are actually not the same thing. You can be content with everything you have and still.
[00:22:19] Have things that you want have a drive towards something else. It's just the motivation for that drive is different. It's no longer driven because I want more stuff or I want more success or I want more your drive comes out of a sense of just being able to serve more people, help more people connect to more people.
[00:22:38] That sort of it's more relationship driven than it is transactionally driven. If that makes
[00:22:43] Daniel Sih: sense. Yeah. I haven't heard of that before that particular paradigm, but I like it. I've written it down and I'll use it as my own. Thanks. Thank you. You're very welcome.
[00:22:51] Scott Maderer: yeah, here's how that works.
[00:22:52] Okay. This is my rules for that. The first time you use it, you actually have to say that Scott said it the second time you [00:23:00] use it. You say some guy said it. The third time it's yours. So
[00:23:03] Daniel Sih: yeah, that's how that works. Okay. I'll do that. That sounds perfect to me.
[00:23:06] Scott Maderer: so you talked earlier about that kind of upside down you and how, when you get out of that leveling area your productivity begins to go down with technology.
[00:23:16] Now I formally believe that, but there's probably someone that heard that went, no, wait a minute. That's weird. What is that? Why do you think productivity suffers? If you quote, use too much tech. Yeah.
[00:23:30] Daniel Sih: Okay. Look, I reckon people are feeling it. They may not know it in their head, but they're feeling it.
[00:23:35] I think it's more the symptoms like I described. Why does your productivity suffer? Look, how many of us are in organizations where people are leading and they are super busy and they work their guts out. Like they work 60, 70 hours a. They're really they're not necessarily bad at what they do, but they're a nightmare to be with
[00:23:56] Their inner life is a nightmare and [00:24:00] they just create chaos. I love the expression. I healed people, heal people and hurt people. There's something about the health of your inner life. That plays out into the health of your organizations. I did a lot of strategic planning with teams and I realized that actually most of the time, it's not the strategy that stuffs up our culture.
[00:24:18] It's actually the interpersonal relationships and the inner life and spirituality of the leader. And and basically how healthy you are is what you perpetuate. And the strategy seems to follow that obviously you need the ability to execute and things like that. So I'm going in circles, but what I'm saying is If we are constantly online and we never have space to, to reflect to be to sleep enough, sleep deprivation leads to a loss of productivity.
[00:24:44] If we don't have time to have meaningful relationships or to simply just have that sense of peace in ourselves, where we be before we do that will play. And it doesn't matter how busy you are and how many things you tick off. You'll tick off the wrong things and you'll create a [00:25:00] culture which is actually not healthy.
[00:25:01] It's not productive. And and people will experience burner and you'll experience a loss of self as well. So that's only one, one description of it, but it's about living an inside out life rather than outside in life. And technology tends to draw us into doing lots and losing our, I'd say, losing our soul at its very.
[00:25:21] Scott Maderer: Yeah. And now I'm gonna steal that from you, the inside out versus outside and life. That'll be turn about as fair play, cuz I like that. I like
[00:25:30] Daniel Sih: that turn of the phrase. let's try it. Good.
[00:25:32] Scott Maderer: So we'll trade. I think and I think you're right. I think people feel that moment of being on 24 7 and again, I think it happens.
[00:25:45] In some ways more now that it did even two years ago the pandemic I think has created even more of that like some of the studies that are showing that seeing our own faces all the time on zoom is [00:26:00] causing brain difficulties and this sort of thing. What have you studied?
[00:26:03] You mentioned several times that you studied some of it about the brain and the neurochemistry and neurobiology, neuroplasticity, all of these things that happened in terms of our brains, how are they affected by the way we're living in terms of the digital.
[00:26:19] Daniel Sih: In a really big way.
[00:26:21] In fact, our, I once heard. Technology is not additive. It's not like a hammer and you grab it and you use it and then you put it down. It's actually organic. In the sense of, it actually changes you from the inside out to the point where you can't separate yourself from it, which is why I say you have a relationship with the online world.
[00:26:39] And we need to understand that. Look, let me give you an example, actually, a story from when I was a physiotherapist, cuz again, I think we need to understand neuroplasticity and the impact of. Of tech on the brain. And so I was treating a patient once and they came in, they walk, they were walking in like a crab, okay, let's call her Susan.
[00:26:57] And she walked in like a crab as in, walked in [00:27:00] sideways with her neck, turned 30 degrees to one side and I thought, wow, this is really unusual. And she'd had a whiplash injury a number of years ago and was put in a collar and she obviously had a lot of neck pain, but when I assessed her, she actually didn't have as much pain as I had expected years on.
[00:27:16] And I could turn her head both sides, so she could actually turn her head neutral. She just always had 30 degrees to the right. And so I was really surprised. And so I got her to close her eyes and look in the mirror and I got her to turn her head both sides as far as she could. And I said, straighten your head so that you're looking forward.
[00:27:35] And she opened her eyes on her head was 30 degrees to the right. So her brain had changed the map of. Was normal. Does that make sense? So what she thought was straight was no longer straight. That was great. We just practiced lots and basically helped her brain realize what normal was.
[00:27:49] And she actually got a great outcome, but that's called neuroplasticity and the brain changes and it can
[00:27:55] Scott Maderer: change. We used to think it was a static. Thing and formed it, then it's done. [00:28:00] And it ,
[00:28:01] Daniel Sih: it's not at all. And even in our eighties and nineties, we can change our brain and our habits and behaviors change our mindset.
[00:28:08] Okay. And so she would, she had habitually walked like that for so long that her mind changed to think that was normal. And we are doing that all the time with the digital world. I think about piano. Okay. I used to be able to play the piano and I used to be able to play really well like a concerto or something that I'd practiced for months and months.
[00:28:25] And I used to play even without looking at music. Now I can't do that anymore because my brain had learnt to, to move in that way and then it stopped. But if I had practiced piano, let's say two hours a day for the last 20 years, I would be incredible. I I'm sure you, but guess what we, on average in America, I think are practicing the internet nine to 12 hours a.
[00:28:45] And we don't think of it like internet practice, but we are practicing a particular set of skills and a particular tool nine to 12 hours a day. And that is having a tremendous impact on the way our brains are wired. It's actually cha like people's [00:29:00] MRIs look different. Our brain looks different after nine hours of internet practice, months after month.
[00:29:05] And that changes the way we see the world. It changes the way our habits. Rod Drayer, who is a a Catholic writer. He thinks that digital technology is the discipleship issue of our age and it shapes us and changes us in ways we cannot imagine. He says that to use technology is to participate in a cultural liturgy.
[00:29:25] And if we aren't mindful, it trains us to accept claims that aren't necessarily gospel. This is basically saying we are creating a liturgy in our lives. We're practicing a way of living. So I'm going on, but I suppose what I'm saying is. We shouldn't underestimate the impact of internet practice on our brain.
[00:29:40] And we just need to be able to unplug for long enough to assess the impact of our habits on our heart, our mind, our beliefs, our relationships, and really a lot of the unplugging is about self awareness.
[00:29:55] Scott Maderer: Oh, and that's, I think that's an important thing on the self-awareness piece. For [00:30:00] as an example for people that are listening we've talked several times about technology in your phone and all of that.
[00:30:05] If every time we've said your phone, you've been tempted to look to check your phone. you know what I mean? It's because we, we always have that reflect. Pull towards our phone. If every time your phone vibrates you or beeps or bongs whatever it is you feel like, oh, I must check it immediately.
[00:30:26] It's you don't even think about it. You just grab it and reflexively check it. That's because you've programmed your brain , yeah. And Facebook and email service providers and all of these people, they know how to program your brain to help have you reflectively do that?
[00:30:46] Daniel Sih: Yeah, my fr look, my friend mark Zers, who's an amazing writer and author he says about digital tech, but actually a lot.
[00:30:55] And he's a pastor. So he's talking about discipleship and about how discipleship [00:31:00] is about an apprenticeship to Jesus. And he says that so much of our of our life is shaped by the share shareholders of Silicon valley tech companies who determine the liturgy of our lives. So when we wake up first thing in the morning and we reach for our phone and we're suddenly looking.
[00:31:15] What's on the news and we are scrolling like that changes the trajectory of our life. As opposed to, let's say a Saint Ignatian rhythm where we start and end with silence and prayer so those little habits play out into big habits, but they are, they're designed in the they're designed in the technologies themselves.
[00:31:33] And I won't go into that cuz that's a huge topic, but I think it's worth noting. Again, there's value in disconnecting and separating ourselves from the tools long enough. Again, it's the same Ignatius principle. If we test the loves and longings of our heart. By withdrawing from the things that we love.
[00:31:51] And then it allows us to see them for what they are. It's not about rejecting those things. Like it's not about rejecting technology. It's about creating a sense of [00:32:00] inter interdependence from them where we're not mastered by them and where we can deeply understand the relationship we have with those tools so that we can enjoy them more.
[00:32:11] Scott Maderer: So let's talk about some of the practical tips. Some of the things that maybe someone can put into action if they're hearing us talk and hearing you talk about this and they're like, okay, yeah, I've, I'm on the other side of that. You I'm I've got too much tech and it's causing problems in my life.
[00:32:31] What are some of the practical tips that you can share that might help us disconnect or. Step back while still getting the benefits of technology. Cuz I I, I don't hear you saying that we should burn all of our phones and go live in the desert in a commune that's not where you're going, but how can we keep the benefits and yet still step away?
[00:32:53] Daniel Sih: And of course my assumption is that we're using tech and it's working for us most of the time. But we're overusing it. Yeah. Look [00:33:00] the beauty of the thing is firstly, with neuroplasticity, you can always change. Okay. So what you choose to do now will unwind whatever you've created.
[00:33:07] So there is a lot of hope. So it's certainly not a negative thing that neuroplasticity works in our favor. Very practically I, in my book, I talk about annual weekly and daily rhythms and there's just a whole. Practical stuff about unplugging. Why don't I just give you some simple tips? The daily ones are the easiest to reflect on again I've talked about starting and ending the day with, without tech.
[00:33:28] I think that's a tremendous start. You wanna start small, like a small amount of space, a small amount of change. Can make a tremendous difference in your life. It's not like you need to have hours and hours of silence and solitude to start with yeah if you can charge your phone outside of your bedroom and do it for your family as well like most teenagers say they check their phone at night when their parents think they're not, and they're losing sleep because of it.
[00:33:52] So yeah, everyone charge your phones outside of your bedroom and rather than starting and ending the day with someone else's mind, start [00:34:00] with your own mind Allow yourself at the end of the day, to reflect on your day, to think about the data from the day and how it impacts your.
[00:34:08] Maybe God forbid talk to the person next year and have some pillow talk rather than both playing candy crush or Instagram. Does that make sense? And and in the morning I love I love prayer. I love scripture. I even just sitting and thinking about your day and reflecting on the meetings that are coming up or the relationships or the conversation you have all that stuff's, it's gold and it frames you in such a better.
[00:34:31] Than starting with the bad news that's happening in some far away country. So that's one idea. Another idea I love is the digital free a digital free dinner. It's another really simple tip. And for many of us, for some of us you'll think, oh, that's really obvious. Like we eat together around a table and we don't have tech, but I'm amazed as I coach people around the world, particularly people in their twenties it is like, it's like talking about going to the moon, the idea of sitting and [00:35:00] eating around a table as a family.
[00:35:01] Nowadays, I remember coaching a group of high level like leaders in a global company around their twenties. And I talked about the idea of what, if you ate a meal once a day. Around a table without tech. And now we're like, that sounds like the 1960s. I can't even imagine how I would start. For me, that sounds unusual, but the research in eating around a meal without tech is incredible.
[00:35:25] The research there's lots of longitudinal research. It shows let's say 12 year old girls who eat regularly with their parents by the time they're 17, they're statistically far less likely to. Pregnancy to be addicted to marijuana. They have better scores in high school and college. They have less debt as adults.
[00:35:43] They have better mental health outcomes young kids who eat regularly without a screen at the table have better numeracy and literacy skills. In fact you'll learn to read and write more by sitting and talking around a table than playing all these apps that you are supposedly helping your reading and writing.
[00:35:58] The only other thing that makes. [00:36:00] Learn more as a child is reading with a parent like a physical book. And so look there, it's just gold. Yeah, eat together. And my favorite thing is if people dunno what to do or how to start, I love the question. What's your high, low Buffalo. Just ask that question.
[00:36:15] What's the high from your day. What's the low from your day. And what's a Buffalo, some strange or random idea or funny thing that's happened. And if you just ask your family, what's their high, low Buffalo, there's a whole evening gone and you can sit and enjoy each other. So my point is just tiny pockets of space.
[00:36:34] Pick a simple habit. That has research benefits and build on it, do it for two months add another one. And you'll eventually find that you have quite a different mindset and a different life. Obviously pray and read scripture. And there's a whole lot of other habits that are really valuable.
[00:36:50] But start simple and start more.
[00:36:52] Scott Maderer: So before I move on to a few questions that I like to ask all of my guests. Is there anything else about [00:37:00] the book or any of the work you do that you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:37:05] Daniel Sih: Not really. No. I, again, I just encourage people to really just do one small thing. That is my passion to help start with small habit change. And if you can unplug just a little bit and then build on that, you'll see such a big difference. Yeah, really? That is my main message at the. So one of the questions I like to ask everybody my, my brand obviously is inspired.
[00:37:28] Scott Maderer: Stewardship. Stewardship is a word that I use a lot. And yet I've discovered it means different things to different people. And so just like I ask you to define productivity. Yeah. Let me ask you to define the word stewardship. What does that mean to you and what does its impact bet on your.
[00:37:43] Daniel Sih: I'm gonna throw a curve ball here, cuz I don't love the word if that's alright.
[00:37:47] No. And and it's only probably cuz of how I've seen it historically used, not the way you use it. From a biblical point of view. I think there aren't many examples of stewardship. In fact like the one I think of in the new Testament is where [00:38:00] Jesus talks about an unjust steward in Luke 16 and.
[00:38:04] But I do love it, actually that idea is that there is a, almost a criminal type guy who rips off his manager's money. And he gives it away in order to build relationships with people who he owes money to. And then at the end of the day Jesus says that he is wires for being a criminal.
[00:38:24] It's a crazy parable. You should read it and try to wrestle with it. And what I love about that is on it. yeah. I love that idea of steward. Because what he's saying from my understanding is we should decentralize money and Des the things of this world and that It's like when he said, Jesus says seek first the kingdom of God and other things will be provided.
[00:38:44] So it's a sense where actually we, in a broad understanding of what really matters, and it's not just about making money, it's about building community. And it's about investing in spirituality. It's about investing in the broad capitals of your life that make life really valuable. [00:39:00] So if that's what stewardship means, then I think I think that's a fantastic idea, but if stewardship is give more money or or save more, so you can be rich, then I struggle with that.
[00:39:09] And that's how I've often seen. Used. Okay. Sorry about that. I hope that's okay to
[00:39:14] Scott Maderer: say no, there's no apology. I actually have talked on the fact that what stewardship means to most people is we're starting a building campaign, please donate. Yeah,
[00:39:23] Daniel Sih: exactly. And that's how I've often seen it.
[00:39:25] And I'm like, yeah, that is really different than how I see it, but that's not what the word means,
[00:39:29] Scott Maderer: but that's what you know.
[00:39:30] Daniel Sih: Yeah. Yeah. So maybe that's why I've I haven't used it as much cuz I tend to see that's how it's used generally. And that seems to. A very different idea than compared to building a life that is whole and healthy and spirit field and wires and relational.
[00:39:46] And if that's what stewardship is, then I'm sold out for that. Yeah.
[00:39:51] Scott Maderer: So let me ask you my favorite question. This is the one that I love to ask all the, all of the guests. If I invented this magic machine and I was able to [00:40:00] pluck you out of the chair where you set today and transport you into the future a hundred to 150 years.
[00:40:06] And through the magic of this machine, you were able to look back and see all of the impacts, all of the ripples, all of the relationships, all of the effects you've had. What impact do you hope you've left behind on the world?
[00:40:18] Daniel Sih: I love that question. It's funny. Cause most people hate it. No, I'm a very legacy driven person.
[00:40:24] And normally I would've known the answer to that at the drop of the hat. I'm. And I'll give you an honest answer here. Like it, it used to be to see a whole lot of. Micro churches or small churches all around Hobart, where I live and to see people's lives transformed by eating and learning and serving and sharing together which is a lot of the work I do in ministry.
[00:40:42] But I've actually resigned from my position as of this morning. And and I'm actually I had a coaching session last night, so I was a bit fresh about the legacy question and actually feel like I actually feel like I need to recalibrate that story and [00:41:00] recalibrate. Where I'm heading in and what that might look like.
[00:41:05] And the answer is, I don't know what it is anymore. And yeah I There's my honest answer. I don't know. It probably relates to actually helping people make space and it relates to my book, whether the passion is at the moment and seeing people really rethink who they are at a deep level and live from the inside out.
[00:41:23] But I'm not sure. And I need a few more months or maybe a year to really. Discern what that is again. Yeah. I dunno if you've ever had a time where you felt like that larger calling has changed, but oh yeah. I feel like that right now for me. Yeah. Yeah. I've I
[00:41:39] Scott Maderer: think we all have periods where we go from.
[00:41:42] I know what the impact is. I know what the legacy is to. I have no idea. And sometimes I think that's being open and honest with what God is putting on our hearts, I is, it's scary and it's not easy, but it's [00:42:00] also important. And at the end of the day, Something will arise on the other side, you just don't know what it is yet, you
[00:42:07] Daniel Sih: know?
[00:42:07] Yeah. And it's look, it's really I'll be perfectly honest. This is a hard time in life where oh, sure. I feel in a transition I feel quite confused and there's a lot of loss and grief and letting go of things. Absolutely. That I dreamed of that seemed to not have eventuated or that where it seems that actually my time has ended for this dream and it has to be given over.
[00:42:29] To God in my language to, to to take it further without me. And but it's also an exciting time because it's a time where there's lots of possibilities and I think it's okay. I'm getting used to the idea of the life of for me, a life of an apprentice of Jesus is about dying and rising and it's about letting go and letting the new thing come.
[00:42:51] And I think that's, we see that as part of our life as mature people over. Absolutely.
[00:42:56] Scott Maderer: Yeah. So what's coming next for you. As [00:43:00] you kinda move down the path. I the answer to this one may be a little hard for you too, given the recency of the transition, but what's on your roadmap.
[00:43:10] Daniel Sih: Look, I know the things that I'm excited about now. I'm loving, speaking on podcasts. We've just launched a a new training. Which is about digital wellness. And it's based on the book, it's about helping teams who feel burnt out and who are struggling with digital overuse to reflect on their relationship with tech individually and together and to create better habits.
[00:43:31] So I'm actually really passionate about that. I've been doing a lot of digital parenting stuff as well, helping parents reflect on how they shape the tech habits of their kids. So I don't know where it fits in the bigger scheme, but in terms of the small stuff it's just a whole lot of fun to have conversations, to help people shift their habits and live a better life.
[00:43:52] And that's essentially what I'm passionate about at a deep level.
[00:43:54] Scott Maderer: You can find out more about Daniel on Facebook as shift the way you [00:44:00] work or he's on LinkedIn is Daniel C that's spelled S I H of course you could find out more about his book and the work he's doing over on his firstname.lastname@example.org. Daniel. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the listen?
[00:44:19] Daniel Sih: Yeah, look I just wanna really encourage you that there is a beautiful, amazing life full of richness and joy that is offline as well as online. And I'd really encourage you to balance the scorecard of your life and experience the wholeness that comes by unplugging regularly.
[00:44:37] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast, as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this. Please do us a favor. Go over to [00:45:00] inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
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Looking at what’s on the news and scrolling that changes the trajectory of our life as opposed to starting and ending with silence and prayer. – Daniel Sih
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