Be Inspired: How to use tech to improve your life

We could all do better spending more time making life count. We talked to Ian McDermott, a Life coach and founder of  International Teaching Seminars (ITS), to find out how we can use tech to do just that.

How can someone use technology to help improve their life?

One of the most important benefits that current technology offers us is the feeling that we can connect with others even when they are far away. Whether its face time, Skype, video or other more business based applications the sheer possibility of feeling connected can change how a person feels in themselves. However the paradox is that there is also a danger that some people will hide behind the new technology - like those who would rather text than look you in the eye and tell it like it is. So ultimately any technology is really only as good as the people using it. My rule of thumb is, any technology can be a very good servant but every technology makes a very bad master.

Can you recommend any apps to help them improve their life?

There are apps for absolutely every area of a person’s life so the real question is not is there an app but what do you want to improve? Once you’re clear about what your top 3 areas which you would like to improve are use that as your search filter when you go shopping for apps. This is the secret of successfully using them. Too many people just get seduced by the latest shiny app. Whether its free or only 69p is irrelevant. What matters is whether it does something for your top three needs. So the rule for successfully choosing the right apps is to know what is most important for you first and then go shopping.

Can you recommend any gadgets to help them improve their life?

In a way everything I have just said about apps also applies to gadgets. But to give you an example, for me keeping track of how much exercise I am getting is part of how I take care of myself and I find a little gadget called a Fitbit really useful. It tells me steps that I've taken and also lots more about my sleep cycle and I can keep track of all this data as it interfaces with my computer. So this gadget definitely improves my awareness of how I'm doing. So another way of coming at this would be to ask what do you want to be more aware of and what gadget could help you do that?

Can you give us five quick tips for improving your life?

Absolutely - but tips often also need techniques. That's why I founded ITS. If you want to know how to do any of these things we can teach you the how to's.

Get clear about what really matters to you. You only have a very short time on this planet - don't waste it.

Learn to love, choose to connect. Anything that helps you have a better heartfelt connection to other human beings will create more joy in your life and statistically promote your longevity.

Learn how to change your physical and emotional energy level at will. The way you feel is absolutely something that can be under your control. As long as you are just on the receiving end of what is going on in your brain you're kind of helpless.

Stop playing small. People often think that they don’t really count - "I'm just one person, what can I do?". However, as every parent knows, you don't need to be important to mess up a kid. Every parent has the power to influence for good or ill and does so on a daily basis. But this doesn't apply just to parents. Each of us affects other people every day for good or ill. You are far more influential than you may have imagined. Get used to it and do something worthwhile with your power to impact others.

Dare to dream. Too many people only let themselves imagine a slight improvement in what they know. This is a mistake because it means that they never open up to what might be possible. A better strategy would be to aim for the stars because even if you don’t make it that far you'll probably reach the moon - and that will be way beyond what you previously had allowed yourself to imagine.

What's the one bit of technology you can't be without?

My laptop. It enables me to be I touch with the world in real time but also to sit back and compose my thoughts in my own time.

Should we trim down on gadget use to better fulfil our goals?

Too often using gadgets becomes a goal in itself. This is back-to-front thinking. Any gadget needs to be in service of a clear goal which the user has in mind. Some people seem to get fixated on the new gadget like a kid with a new toy. One way to avoid this trap is to ask yourself when a new gadget appears, what do I really want and could this gadget help me better achieve my goal? If yes great! If no don't get distracted. This way you stay in charge.

This article is brought to you by Lenovo Inspire Me. More info can be found at LenovoInspireMe.com, where you can enter our competition to win the trip of a lifetime.