3 Reasons Why You & Your Phone Should Take a Break
In today’s busy world we are programmed to go go go! With the help of technology, the “go go going” is getting faster every day. We have cell phones that make dinner reservations, coffee makers that use iPods, and DVRs that record the television shows we like to watch so we can fast forward through them. With all of these devices I sometimes feel like George Jetson running on his treadmill in the sky. Why do we use all of these gadgets? So we can save time!
But in the process of “saving time” I find myself wasting a lot of it on the same devices that were supposed to help free-up my time in the first place. While playing with my son, Jesse, I am on the phone texting, reading emails, looking up NBA scores and checking out Facebook. I realized that I am losing precious time with Jesse that I can never get back. He doesn’t have a pause or rewind button. If I miss one of his milestones, that’s it. There is never going to be another “first time”.
Life gives us an unknown amount of time on this earth so we need to spend it wisely. Have our gadgets really helped us save time? If so, what have we done with all the saved time? Think about the quality of your time, enjoying the moment and tuning in by turning off.
Virtual vs. Real – Instead of having a virtual conversation, have a real conversation. Really listen when somebody is speaking to you. You may miss that nugget of wisdom because you were two steps ahead of the conversation and eager to give your response without letting them finish their thoughts; and all because you are trying to save time. When you give time to others through listening and attention you not only improve the quality of your relationship but you spend your time wisely.
Enjoying the Moment – We have a tendency to worry about what happened yesterday and what might be in store for us tomorrow instead of enjoying the actual moment we are in. I become more aware of this when it comes to my son. I only have a few hours with him each day and I want those hours to become a lifetime of memories for both of us. In other words, I’m intentional about the time I spend with him.
Tune In by Turning Off – This is such a simple concept, yet I often see couples out to dinner checking their cell phones. I’ve been guilty of this on occasion – don’t make my mistake. The emails and messages are still going to be there in a couple of hours so have a great date! Anne wrote about the importance of allowing your mind to rest before bed and I’m also advocating that you do this as you enter into playtime with your kids or a date night. Either turn your phone off ahead of time or choose to ignore it when you’re with these special people. You will be happy you did.
Now take a moment and pause, no really . . . PAUSE. Now, think of the simple things in life that make you happy and ask yourself these questions:
Do I struggle with enjoying the moment? What can I do to change that?
What can I do to improve the quality of my time?
Which relationships need more of my focused attention?
Great post Neil…all so true!
Not to mention the danger of driving with a cell phone in hand! What we think is urgent could very well be deadly!
Hi Joey –
You are so right, unfortunately we have served a couple of families who died while driving on their phone.
I hope this never happens to anyones family again.
Thank you for posting this. Remember Molly’s quote in her blog? Wherever you are, Be There! I really notice this with my grandkids. It can make us feel so unimportant. Here we all are at a birthday dinner or holiday meal and everyone is checking their cells and texting with friends. It has done severe damage to the art of conversation. That person you are with feels less important. I get the same thing at times when I am talking to someone on the phone. I can tell when they are doing something else, trying to multi-task. They may be in front of their computer or trying in some way to do two things at once. You can’t really. So the conversation loses its value. Time to disconnect! We either disconnect with our devices or we will find that when we really need each other, it’s a little late. There’s been too much human disconnection already. Like Pat said above, make people, in the flesh, the first priority over the contact via the device.
Hi Anne –
Some of my best conversations in life have been with you, we always can agree to disagree and still love each other. I have loved playing devils advocate with you, from politics, religion, music, you name it, you have a great opinion and passion for life and the art of conversations. Here is my family challenge I am going on, once I am home the phone is off. Do you think you could challenge your grandchildren to turn their phones off once they are with you? Let me know, hopefully they will not call the phone police on you.
Great thoughts, Neil, and thank you for the great reminder.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned as I move through my life . . . you CANNOT save time. It is what it is. It’s here and then it’s history. The cliché “save time” has really given us a false sense that we can hoard our minutes and use them later. What we need to learn is to be good stewards of our time and use it wisely. We should devote our time at work to accomplishing the tasks at hand. Our companies deserve that from us. When I ‘m with my friends or colleagues at lunch, my phone is turned off and in my purse. It doesn’t sit on the restaurant table as a reminder that “it” is more important than the company we are with. When I’m with my family – I’m with my family. I’m not tied to my phone. It’s not with me or near me. When I need to , I check it. I guess being older I realize that time is of the essence, and time spent with family and friends is precious. Is there a way to stop the connection we have to our phones? I think it comes down to knowing great IT etiquette. Don’t be rude. I’ve been in meetings where the person sitting across from me has their phone on the table and as we are talking they continually pick it up to look at it. My importance has just gone out the window. So let’s disconnect. Let’s not get so tied to these distractors that we miss the warmth of conversation and the look in someones eyes when they know you are truly “with them”. Let’s “take time” and make it a priority! Because before you know it . . . time’s up!
Hi Pat –
WOW – you spoke the truth and I love you for it! Everything you have written is true in my life, GUILTY as charged! You have been a great teacher to me and I will recommit my self to you and others by keeping my phone off during our meetings and lunches. Thank you for your wise words of encouragement.
I actually flew down to Los Angeles this past week, to attend the final concert of The Rock Bottom Remainders at the El Rey Theater. I’ve been a Stephen King fan for years and years, and just had to see him playing rock and roll with other fine writers like Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Matt Groening…the wacky creator of The Simpsons. In the vernacular of the famous Frankie Vallie – “Oh! What a night!”
I stayed “in the moment” as much as I possibly could; inching forward as taller people stood in front of me…raising their smartphones above their heads to shoot videos of the performance! I was stunned as I watched a large number (half?) of those there “playing” with their phones – checking emails, calling people, and taking pictures.
The experience for them was much different that the one I had.
Yes, I have a cell phone. No, it’s not “smart” (although you could argue it’s smarter than me…I still haven’t figured out how to use the darned thing – and seeing all the buttons, bells, and whistles is impossible without my reading glasses). But, I left it behind that night, to be fully, completely present. Who wouldn’t want to watch and listen closely as these fine writers slipped into their stage personae? I’m so happy I was there for their final performance. And so happy I was smart enough to leave my phone in my hotel room.
It sound like you have a great feel for balance in you life and with you not so smart phone. I love your story, I am glad to see that you are rocking & rolling in LA. We will not go to our grave and say, ” Oh yah, can I check my email before I check out of here.” It sounds like a magical night, I am so happy to know you got 100% of the experience of staying in the moment. Namaste, XOXO!
I wholeheartedly agree! All we have are our “moments to be present”. I appreciate your willingness to be all there!
This is such a great post!
I admit it, I’m guilty. I sit at dinner with friends and we are all on our phones.
Is the world really going to end if I don’t answer that email instantly?
I’m an iPhone addict! I will remember to leave it in my purse when others are present.
We are all guilty of this crime, losing touch with each other by technology. Like everything else in life this is a balance act. If you are ever so bold, next time when you go out with a friend for lunch or dinner, give them the phone challenge, make a pack that we will not pick up our phone during our meal, no matter what, or if you do check your phone then you have to buy the meal. Let me know if you can get some free meals?
I will try this! I like it!