7 tips to unplug and enjoy the moment
This video about the power of words went viral a few years ago. You see a blind man modestly begging on the streets. His sign says ‘I’m blind. Please help’. People ignore him and he gathers the coin equivalent of about a take-away cappuccino (Yes, Australia’s expensive). Then a helpful lady changes the words on his sign and kaching; he gets more coin than the average slot machine. The new words are indeed powerful:
“It’s a beautiful day… and I can’t see it”
I won’t go into the art of how to write or how to appeal to your audience. This post is about us willingly putting ourselves in the same situation as this blind man. Especially Gen Y. Why? Because this is normal.
“It’s a beautiful day… and we don’t see it“
We spend hours every day looking for connections. Even the hours that offer so much more than the unfulfilling, shallow contact that social media and typed words allow. I went out for a run today and it was so gorgeous outside. Green, sunny, pretty boats on the river… and every other person not taking in the beauty because they were face down in their phones!
I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this behaviour, but the sadness of the ‘smartphone zombie’ does hit me when, you know… I’m not being one myself :)
Why unplugging is necessary
- Boredom is essential for creativity.
- Solitude is a gift you don’t want to give away. Always being connected takes away the beauty of being completely alone.
- Screen to screen contact doesn’t hold a candle to face to face. Without physical- and eye contact and the non-verbal communication you get from tone of voice, you won’t feel the same level of satisfaction from the connection. Come on, you know this is true.
- Ever been jealous of the glamorous life of a Facebook or Instagram friend? Or feel lonely when you’re watching photos of your friends catching up without you? Yeah, me too. Less time on social media = less feelings of jealousy. It’s that simple.
- Looking at video’s of cats and seeing what your ex co-worker had for dinner is taking valuable time away from more productive endeavours.
If you’re like me, you know all this, but still it’s hard as nails to put the
smartdumb phone down.
Here are 7 tips to get out of the toxic relationship with your gadgets:
- Pick up your phone, go to Settings and turn off all automatic notifications from unnecessary apps, social media and email. This might sound scary, but odds are you won’t miss out on anything big. Let go of the FOMO!
- Go through your Facebook friends list and unfriend -or at least unfollow- anyone you don’t really care about and who doesn’t care about you. They don’t just take up space on your newsfeed, they take valuable time as well.
- Turn off the noise on the toys. Set your phone to vibrate as much as possible. You don’t need to be drawn to your phone even more than you already are.
- Put your phone charger outside of the bedroom. Before you go to bed, finish your phone business and put it on the charger. Many of us take our phones to bed and stare at that tiny blue screen till we nod off. And when we grab the phone to turn off its alarm, we check our emails, Facebook and Twitter feeds. By putting the phone out of reach, we restore a healthy, relaxing sleep routine.
- Choose a ‘power down’ time-slot every day. I recommend the first hour and/or the last one. Or if that doesn’t work for you, how about lunch? The ‘when’ isn’t as important as the discipline of intentionally powering down.
- If you like music during your runs, that’s fine. I do too. Without some dubstep I probably wouldn’t exercise half as much. But what you don’t need, is not seeing your environment because you’re refreshing your Instagram feed for the umpteenth time. So if you still have an iPod laying around, plug your earphones into that badboy instead of your smartphone. All an iPod does is is play music, it can’t distract you (too much) from your environment.
- 7. If you’re unable to reduce tech-time with the above tips, do this; put a cup of water in a blender, add your phone and blend till smooth. Why? You’re obviously too addicted to be a responsible smartphone owner ;)
Good luck powering down, let me know what you did with those extra ‘in-the-moment’ moments!