I was in a café a couple of months back and sat next to a couple who were having brunch. I couldn’t help notice that they spent the entire time on their phones. 90 minutes of reading and sending texts whilst eating their breakfast. That takes some dextrous skill, believe me.
I am sure that this happens all around us. In fact it has become second nature to play dodge the person walking and texting coming towards you on the footpath.
I tried to remember the last time I was without technology. I think it was on the 12 hour plane ride home from Istanbul, because even the most remote places in Turkey I could get cell phone signal.
Landing at Singapore was interesting. Passengers were reaching for their mobiles and switching them on as soon as we touched down. It was like watching smokers grabbing for their cigarette packets the moment they were outside and I realised that mobile technology has become like an addiction.
We have become addicted to checking our email, Linkedin, Facebook or Pinterest. I have no problem with all of these things. I have accounts for all of them too, but it made me wonder…when are our minds ever silent?
Life used to offer us many times to think and reflect during a day e.g. the dentist, a bus trip, a queue. During these times you had time to think about stuff and that in turn might lead onto other things, ideas or actions. Even if you were the busiest person in the world, there were always times to think.
But not now. You have a phone. In the 45 minutes you wait for the doctor, you can check your mail, read the news, catch up on your facebook and post a photo of your swollen ankle. Then you can check how many “likes” it gets. My good friend told me that her darkest hours was checking her phone in the middle of the night.
It becomes information IN and information OUT and speaking for myself, it is typically transactional. It is white noise that I create for myself.
Side note: Wasn’t “white noise” a form of torture?
Last Sunday, I went to my good friends house for dinner and we ate outside on the balcony without an i-phone or ipad anywhere near us. During that time we laughed, we chatted and we brainstormed on some potential business ideas. We even spontaneously came inside and rearranged the lounge. Only then did we realise that it was 2.30am in the morning and we hadn’t even scratched the surface of catching up. I can guarantee if our phones had been sitting on the table pinging and vibrating throughout dinner, it would have been a totally different story.
I have decided I am going to set some parameters about how I use technology to give myself time to reconnect to others and my thoughts, ideas and dreams.
These are my guidelines for myself:
- I will not check my email on the way to work
- It will stay on silent in the evening
- I will not check it for the first half hour when I get up.
- I will not leave it next to the bed when I sleep
- I will never check it when I am talking to someone
- I will not take it on bike rides or walks
I will never give up my mobile phone and I know these are small changes to make. But then again, I don’t want my mind to be a slave to the information that it is always feeding me. I think I am at my best when I have time to reflect, rejuvenate,plan and connect with others. I will let you know how I get on…
If you want to join me and Mandy in Bali for a week of reflection, rejuvenation, connection and creativity, come and join us on our LEAP programme 26 – 31 July 2015. We have just a few places left, so reach out if you want to know more.