Category: Events

Make Plans as If the Internet Didn’t Exist

In recent years, many of us have taken to canceling plans at the last minute via text or by using our smartphones in other ways. It usually happens minutes from the meeting time. I try not to do this, but I am definitely guilty of it.

Before the internet, this was something that was not done as often. People made a real effort not to cancel unless there was some sort of true emergency. If they did cancel at the last minute without a valid reason, it would reflect very poorly on them. That doesn’t seem to be true anymore. It seems to be socially acceptable now to cancel plans at the last minute — and to cancel them via text.

This can hurt your reputation and perceived willingness to commit to things in both a professional and personal capacity. I believe this issue comes from our ability to get in touch with someone at any moment, which seemingly removes the need to let someone know far in advance that we may be forced to cancel, reschedule, or arrive late.

I’m in my mid-40s and recently spoke to someone in her mid-20s. She explained that “bailing out” is so common among people her age that she actually stopped making important plans with friends.

Smartphones play a significant role in this phenomenon, as they now shape how we schedule events. The interesting part is that you can spend more time scheduling something through online messaging than at the actual meeting itself. It’s hard enough when it’s just one person. When more than two people are involved, it becomes a scheduling nightmare that can be extremely time-consuming, frustrating, and anxiety-producing.

Here’s a tip:

Schedule meetings and reschedule /cancel them as if the internet didn’t exist.

Act as if you had no access to the internet.

Imagine you have scheduled to meet with someone at 1 p.m. If you act as if there is no internet and your morning schedule starts getting delayed, you’re probably going to need to call a couple of hours in advance to let them know. The purpose of this tip is to see how it affects your mindset and how the actions you take will lead you to be more mindful and present. Think about the other person and the consequences of your actions.

The internet gives us this sense of security that we can instantly reach people at any time, and this is what contributes to the last-minute rescheduling. Act as if the internet didn’t exist and see if that results in you doing fewer things at the last minute.

Does anything change if you reschedule the meeting a day before because you’re swamped with work? Would it be wiser to reschedule and avoid the risk of being unable to reach the person at the last minute? Do it a day in advance rather than a minute in advance.

It’s very common now for people to schedule meetings at the last minute.

Try this exercise to break the habit. Schedule a meeting with someone for Friday around noon and talk to the other person about a general meeting area. Leave the details very vague about the time and place. As the meeting approaches and you’re on your way to the area, you can hash out specifics with the other person in such a way that when the appointment time comes, you know everything and don’t need to communicate to finalize anything. You’re acting as if the internet doesn’t exist.

As with all mindfulness, take note of how you feel about your new behavior. Do you feel happier, less stressed, and less anxious?

Mindfulness Event This Friday!

Robert Plotkin, co-founder of the “Hack Your Mind” series is pleased to invite you to the next event this Friday, October 6th at 12 pm on the campus of MIT.

Join us for the first program of the semester of our Hack Your Mind series with Dr. Susan Gabrieli. Dr. Gabrieli is a neuroscientist and Senior Research Scientist for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.  
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Tap Into Mindfulness August 15th & 17th with expert Robert Plotkin

Life moving too fast? Let expert Robert Plotkin teach you 3 simple mindfulness techniques to help you regain focus, better understand how technology affects your daily life, and take concrete steps towards improved mindfulness. Don’t miss out on this exclusive event on August 15th or 17th!

Register for August 15th at 7 pm Eastern webinar here:

Register for August 17th at 12 pm Eastern webinar here:

As an added bonus, if you sign up early you will receive a FREE gift — 10 Tips to Tap Into Mindfulness.

Hack Your Mind Event: Technology and the Assault on Solitude

Join author Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self on April 19th to learn more about the effect of technology on solitude. 

This event is organized by MIT Radius, where Technology for Mindfulness’s own Robert Plotkin is a member of the Steering Committee.

More about this week’s event here.


Hack Your Mind Event: Multitasking: Why Your Brain Can’t Do It and What You Should Do About It

Join expert Earl Miller, a system/cognitive neuroscientist, whose research focuses on the neural mechanisms of learning, memory, and cognition at MIT on April 11th to learn more about his thoughts on the brain and multitasking, and specifically why your brain can’t multitask in the ways that you might think it can.

This event is organized by MIT Radius, where Technology for Mindfulness’s own Robert Plotkin is a member of the Steering Committee.

More about this week’s event here. 

Smartphone Liberation — MIT, February 10

Tomorrow I’ll be leading an interactive session at MIT called “Smartphone Liberation.” In the session I’ll guide attendees through a series of guided meditation exercises using their smartphones, with the intention of helping us to become more mindful of how we interact with our smartphones. Although most mindfulness training requires you to begin by turning off and putting away your smartphone, in this session I ask that you bring your smartphone with you so that you can engage with it directly and, we hope, a bit more mindfully by the end of the hour. The event is on Friday, February 10 from 12pm-1pm at MIT, Building 66, Room 144. Hope to see you there!

Wisdom Films for the Modern Age

Wisdom Films for the Modern Age

I just attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 called, “Wisdom Films for the Modern Age.”  We may not think about film as a form of technology anymore because we are so familiar with it, but film and the various mechanisms for distributing it are technologies that act as amplifiers.

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The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?


The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom? by Robert Plotkin

This morning I attended a session at Wisdom 2.0 entitled, “The Future of Transformation: How Can Technology Assist Awakening Wisdom?”  Here’s some highlights.

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Time to Vote for Technology For Mindfulness on the Wisdom 2.0 “People’s Stage”

We have an exciting update to share. I am applying to appear on “The People’s Stage” at the upcoming Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco this February. Check out my one-minute video contest entry.


There are about 100 entrants, but only four will be selected to appear on stage. Help me become one of them by casting your vote!

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