Microsoft CEO: the secret to a harmonious life is to stop obsessing over your smartphone

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Business Insider

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is busy bringing you all kinds of new devices and apps to infuse everything you do with computer-aided intelligence: using a personal assistant (Cortana) to manage your calendar, having chat bots interact with you on the internet, using the HoloLens virtual reality glasses to impose a 3D virtual world onto your real world.

Yet, when it comes to balancing work with family and personal life, he doesn't think our obsession with our devices is helping.

He doesn't believe in work/life "balance" but in in work/life harmony, he tells Business Insider.

"There's no such thing as balance. It's how do I harmonize my work and my life?" he says. We all spend tons of time at work and thinking about work, so it's important that our work be meaningful and fit in with our core values.

But when it comes to spending time with the family, we all need to focus less on our phones and more on the real world.

That means not thinking about "the last email," you got from work, he tells Business Insider.

But it also means putting down that phone and paying full attention to your family and friends.

It's something that he's working on himself (emphasis ours):

When I'm with my family, doing something say even this weekend, tomorrow when I'm there with my daughter, I'm present. What does that presence mean? A lot of us have the residual effect of the last email, the last thing. You've got to get very, very good, I think, in modern life to not have that residual effect spoil your presence. I see people over a dinner table all on their cellphone, that's when I say, wow, that's tragic.

Nadella calls our need for our phones "information anxiety" and he's hoping that Microsoft's new generation of smarter, talking, software and devices will help you solve that.

"So I'm running late to a meeting. The personal assistant realizes that, automatically on my behalf reschedules or notifies the person because it knows my calendar. I'm not doing some texting and driving. That's one trivial example," he says.

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