If you know me well, you know that I love social media. It is often the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night. I am probably one of the select few individuals on this planet that gets an actual “adrenaline rush” from live tweeting a conference or an event. I love how social media can bring people together. I can share my daily happenings with my friends in Perú, Mexico, Chile, Canada and Spain all with just a click of a button. Just as social media can bring people together, it can also serve as a huge distraction.
A couple of days ago I came across this interesting article on FastCo Exist called, “Leave Your Smartphone Addiction At Home With This Screenless Device That Only Does Phone Calls.” Kaiwai Tang and Joe Hollier, cofounders of Light, a phone that can only make phone calls, are on a mission to bring the dumb phone back.
I agree wholeheartedly with Tang when he said, “We're just saying that for certain moments — like taking your kid to the park, having dinner with your wife — those moments we don’t really need notifications from Twitter or Facebook or anything else.”
We live in a very social media driven world. Not a meal goes by without it having to be arranged nicely, photographed, filtered and uploaded to Instagram. Although I am guilty of doing the same, I have been making a more conscious effort to focus on remembering how my food tastes, rather than picking out a filter to make my friends jealous. I have been making more of an effort to truly listen to the remarks of a speaker at a conference , rather than stressing about how to capture everything he or she is saying in 140 characters or less.
In my opinion, many of us need to be re-trained in the art of enjoying life without social media, smartphones, technology etc. Here are a few tips to help you become less dependent on technology, or more open to the world around you:
If social media is an absolute must in your daily schedule, decide now how long you will allow yourself each day. 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 3o minutes? Set a limit and stick to it. Feel free to ask friends, roommates and/or family members for help.
Do Something Else
You know yourself better than anyone else and are especially aware when you are the most prone to check your phone during the day. If possible, create different go-to activities that you can depend on every time you feel the urge to check your phone. Instead of checking your phone, read a book, take a walk around the park, tell your children how much you love them, clean the kitchen and the list goes on. As you find time for other activities, you will start living a happier, more productive live.
Realize It’s A Process
The art of living in the moment takes time to learn. You must realize that in order to form new habits, you must break old ones. For example, it will may be difficult to stop taking pictures of your meals, if you have take pictures every time you eat. Start small. Try to go one meal without taking a picture, then two meals, then a day, until you find yourself rarely taking pictures of your food at all.
There is a time and a place to use your phones. Am I saying that you should stop taking pictures all together? Certainly not. However, what I am saying, it is extremely important to find a proper balance. Photos may be worth a thousand words, but don’t be so caught up in taking a picture and/or video, that you end up completely missing the moment. It is my hope, that as the saying goes, we can all find the time to stop and smell the roses.