Unplug & Live
You know what it’s all about.
How long has it been since you last checked your phone? A minute? Fifteen seconds? Your phone is probably synced to whatever screen you’re reading this on right now. Or it’s synced to the watch on your wrist. We have infinite ways to stay connected in the world today. One could argue too many ways.
When is the last time you left your phone at home for a day? I’m not talking about accidentally heading out the door only to discover when you were a block away from home that you’d forgotten it. We have all been there and felt the sheer panic seep through our veins. What if someone is trying to reach me and I’m away from my phone?? We are, as a society, addicted to connection.
With connectedness comes stress. Your boss can contact you at any time of day. You can email from your phone while sitting on the beach during your vacation. Here’s what we have found: If you put the phone away (or turn it on airplane mode for the day, as a first step), you will feel like you’re missing out at first. But then, as the day goes on, you will notice other people on their phones constantly, on the contrary, disconnecting from the world around them to connect with a virtual world instead. We now spend so much time in our lives looking at screens that we forget what’s right in front of us.
I have started making a habit of putting my phone on silent when I am with my mom and dad. I want to be present with them and engage in meaningful conversations with them while we are together. After a while, my mom will sometimes mentally “check out” and turn to Facebook if she is disinterested in a topic that my dad and I get talking about. She’ll chirp in with an opinion if she hears something interesting, but she is not in the present. Her family is right there in the room with her and Facebook takes precedence. This is not to say my mom is a terrible person. Not even a little bit. She’s extremely family-oriented and family is a top priority to her. The example is merely an illustration of what we all do without even giving a second thought.
You can also put your phone on silent, do not disturb, or airplane mode. Once morning comes, keep your phone in that mode. Why, you ask? This allows you to be distraction-free from the “outside world” and concentrate on being in the present. Finish any tasks that you may have and then turn on your phone. This will help you become more productive in your day. Similar concepts (such as waiting until office hours to check your email) are expanded on in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings – and Life
Yes, a phone can help out in everyday life from GPS, to pictures, to calling or texting, but that boils down to helping out to your physical life, not your virtual life.
Together as a team, we call one another out by finding gentle ways of asking “Are you being present?” If you commit to putting in the effort to do the same, get a few friends, family members or your significant other on board to keep you accountable. This is a simple reminder to enjoy life around you. There are so many beautiful moments happening around us that we often forget to look up and take it all in.
Let us know your strategies for unplugging and living. What’s a moment you missed because you were “plugged in”?
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