A distracted existence leads us to no goal.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I’m a big fan of technology. I’m old enough to remember what it was like to have to use a folding paper map or get directions to drive places. I ended up lost more times than I would like to count. But how cool is it to wake up in the morning, check the weather, read the news, text your friends, and order a bunch of things you don’t really need from Amazon, all before leaving the security of your bed? With all the benefits of technology, there are a lot of drawbacks too. Here are my favorite reasons for putting down your phone.
Your life needs more memory and data!
You’re being robbed! I’ve wanted to finish writing a book for years. Yet, with work, kids, and a relationship, I can never “find” the time to work on it. Then one recent Sunday after I upgraded my phone I received a notification. A message popped up on my phone said something along the lines of “your weekly usage was up 78% with an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes a day.”
I almost fell out of my bed. That was over 25 hours in one week! That I spent on my phone! Do you have any idea how much writing you can accomplish in 25 hours? As it turns out, I do have time to write a book. Even with all the demands of life.
Steve Jobs once said, “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Time is one thing you can’t buy more of even if you had all the money in the world. Ask yourself if the time you are spending on your phone is worth the payment of moments of your life. Did you go to bed that evening excited about how you spent your time that day and the accomplishments you were able to achieve? Did the time you spent that day move you closer to where you want to be? Or did you choose to check out, grab your phone out of habit and let the hours slip away? (So harsh! I know. But, I’m preaching to myself!)
Be an influencer, a real one.
Someone needs you and you need someone. Maybe it’s a kid, a spouse, a friend, a parent, or heck, even the family dog, but someone is going to benefit from having your undivided attention. I’ve always been so appreciative of my boyfriend for always putting his phone down when he’s around me. If we go out to dinner, he doesn’t even bring it into the restaurant! Like a crazy person!
But you know what message that sends to me? That at that moment I am worth his undivided attention. It’s a compliment and it’s appreciated. Next time you go out for dinner, look around the restaurant. Look at how many families are sitting together but they’re all on their phones. They are missing the beauty of human interaction.
Downloading a virus.
How does social media make you feel? Recently, after chasing a rabbit down the social media hole, I took a minute to bring myself back to the present moment. I felt like I was waking up from a trance. I don’t know how long I had been dancing back and forth between Facebook and Instagram but I consciously made myself note how I was feeling. The answer was awful.
I saw news articles that friends had shared with injured animals. I saw lots of perfect bodies and perfect lives and I immediately fell into the trap of comparison. Of course, I didn’t measure up. There was the usual tragic news. Lots of political fighting. And yes, even a few good things sprinkled in between. But the good couldn’t outweigh the bad. I just don’t feel that great after I’ve been obsessing over my phone.
Do you ever ask yourself how you feel afterward? Be honest with yourself. I’m not even saying all of social media is bad. But I think it’s important to be in tune with how it’s making you feel and if you feel bad afterward, maybe it’s time to make a change or take it in smaller doses.
Have you seen how amazing it is outside? Oh goodness, I’ve turned into my mother. I can’t tell you how many times she said in her lifetime, “GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!” As it turns out that was some seriously great advice. I know it’s not always possible because of the weather, but if you can, get outside. I’m amazed at how healing spending time in nature is for me. I feel completely “grounded” afterward. Pun intended!
Time cycling, hiking, trail running, or even just taking a walk feeds my soul in a way like no other. I walk away with my batteries recharged.
Connecting with yourself!
The biggest reason for me to stay off of my phone is that I realize the more I’m connecting to the internet, the less I’m connecting with myself. It’s easy to slip away from a mindful mindset when you are filling your life with distractions. Sometimes there is a feeling I need to deal with–or even a responsibility that is difficult for me. It’s easier for me to escape online and numb my pain and push off my responsibility. That will all still have to be dealt with. By coming back to myself, off my phone, I’m able to make improvements to my life and headway in the direction of my goals.
I’m also practicing more mindfulness for the times I do go on my phone. I’ve started watching videos that are encouraging instead. Or I’ll read an uplifting article instead of simply getting lost down the abyss of mind-numbing habits.
I’m challenging myself to continue down the path of bettering my life for the time I spend on my phone, but actively working toward staying off of it and simply break the habit. That way maybe someday you all will be reading my book instead of a blog!
What would you do if you traded your time on your phone for something more beneficial?