How my smart phone stole my heart
I thought, like most people, that if I used the little bits of free time sprinkled throughout my day I would accomplish more. So I checked my email while waiting in line to check out at the grocery store. I checked my Facebook feed and business page while waiting to pick the girls up from dance. I scrolled through my Pinterest feed while watching them play at the park.
While all of these instances sound like a good use of spare time, they created a bad habit. I started checking in with any spare time. I ended up spending more time on social sites and email than if I had checked in during a time set aside for those activities.
I also found that I wasn’t paying as much attention to my surroundings and engaging in life with those around me. My face was glued to my screen when I should have been watching the trees blow in the wind, listening to the birds sing, or rejoicing at the laughter of my children.
So I deleted all social media apps from my phone including Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+. (I do still have Instagram installed, but don’t seem to get sucked into that one.) I also made my email settings inactive. The settings are still there so I could make an account active if I need to check my email for something important such as a hotel reservation while away from my computer. But because I have to take this extra step to check my email, I think twice about the necessity of doing it from my phone.
What I gained by turning my phone antisocial
More attention to my surroundings
I now notice more and enjoy my free time. I’m able to just observe the people, animals, and landscapes around me. This includes watching my children play and laugh. I am storing up these mental images for later. They will only be little once.
More engagement with those around me
Instead of having my face buried in my screen, I can have a conversation with someone. I’m an introvert so this one stretches me a little, but at least I’m open to a conversation. Sometimes the discourse is brief and that’s okay too.
Time to let my creativity flow
You need to have downtime to be your most creative. When I allow my mind to wander during those free moments throughout the day, my creative juices usually start flowing. Some of my best ideas come when I’m thinking about nothing in particular and just allowing my thoughts to meander.
Less time on social sites and email
I am much more aware of the amount of time I spend on social sites on my computer. I try to set aside a specific time every day and limit the amount of time spent attending to social media sites and email. Many productivity experts agree this is the most productive way of working—to batch similar tasks together. Instead of dealing with an email here and there, I deal with them all at once.
More work accomplished
I accomplish more work now. When we have five minutes between our lessons during the school day I can put away the pile of dishes in the sink or start the next load of laundry. When I have a few minutes waiting in line at the store, I can think about an upcoming project and how I can make it better or I can give my full attention to my daughter if she is with me. When I no longer have a long list of small to-do’s because I did them in my “spare” time, I can devote a larger block of time to the larger projects.
I’m not the only one pondering this concept. Watch this 3-minute Ted talk video and see if your views of how you use your phone change. (Warning: There is a road sign with objectionable language at 1:50 if you watch with your kids beside you.)