Technology has come a very long way in a short period of time. Just 30 years ago, most of us did not own a cellphone and we had never seen an email. The internet as we know it did not exist.

Technology has changed the way we do business, but it might not be a good thing.

Business owners receive information in more ways today than we ever imagined. Every phone call, voicemail, text message, email or social media post generates a beep, ring or a vibration. We are interrupted by these notifications hundreds of times each day.

These constant interruptions distract us from what we are doing and cause us to multitask. Several studies have shown that multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 40%.

Technology is not only reducing our productivity, it may be damaging our relationships.

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine. Her business was struggling and she needed my help. Specifically, she wanted to identify good niche markets and build strategic partnerships to generate streams of referral business.

During the meeting, she constantly glanced at her watch to check the time. Every couple of minutes, she glanced at her watch again. I started to feel totally disrespected and a bit angry. I was donating my time to help her, but my time did not seem important to her. Finally, I asked her if she needed to reschedule our meeting.

As it turns out, she did not have any other appointments. She had just gotten a new watch that vibrated every time she got a call, text, email, voicemail or social media notification. Every time it vibrated, she glanced at it. Every time she glanced at it, I felt disrespected.

Next time you are meeting with someone, try turning off your phone and your watch. Why not be engaged with the people you are with?

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.