I was out having lunch with a friend last weekend, when mid-story I did something very wrong – I looked down at my phone. I not only looked down at my phone, I proceeded to text (it was a group text between my sister and my dad about something semi-important). I experienced two feelings: upset over being guilt tripped for answering my phone, and guilt for looking at my phone in the first place and being rude.
It’s more than just answering a text message, it’s the inability to unplug from technology. I find myself always retreating to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram when I’m walking from place to place, in group situations, or just hanging around with a friend. Sometimes I get distracted enough that the urge to check what’s going on doesn’t push me to scroll down my various news feeds, but the majority of the time when that opportunity presents itself, I’ll take it.
Instead of looking through your iPhone camera or reaching for that selfie stick, take a break from all the hashtags and just live. We all need a break from technology when we get home after a long day at the office. If you take a closer look, people all over the world are starting to unplug. In an article published by The Huffington Post, one family took a challenge to unplug from all forms of technology for an entire week. About halfway through they were regretting their participation, but by the seventh day they because accustomed to it.
“The more you use technology, the more you crave it,” says Jennifer Lovy, author of “We Unplugged for a Week and Survived.” She mentions it was her son who said it best, “If you say it’s boring, it’s going to be boring. But, if you say it’s fun, it can be fun.”
In the article “Prescription: Media Fast- Stat!” featured on The Huffington Post, author Lissa Coffey mentions that first and foremost, it’s about connection. “Social media serves an important purpose in highlighting and encouraging the connection between us all,” says Coffey. She adds that as much as it connects us, it also creates tension and controversy. “The idea behind a media fast is to regain balance,” says Coffey, “We need that reminder that our inner world is alive and well, and ready to serve us.”
A reason to unplug? First off, stress. Communicating with colleagues after hours not only creates stress, but it prevents your brain from relaxing and recouping from a long day, says Alice Walton, author of “Feeling Overconnected? 5 Reasons to Unplug From Technology After Work.” She mentions that multi-tasking doesn’t work, and that having one hand over the stove and one clicking through emails prevents us from enjoying the small moments of life, like a funny story or expression.
Give technology a break when you can afford it, especially after work. Instead of stealing a glance or two at your phone, be in the now with your family and friends. Focus on those in front of you, instead of what you can’t see online. Here are five tips to help you break away from your smart phone, tablet and social media outlets, and simply enjoy the moment. No status update required.
Limit – Set boundaries on work communication outside the office.
Silence – Make steps to unplug at the end of the day, an hour or two before bed, or maybe an entire evening.
Table Manners – Make a point to leave gadgets away from the dinner table so you can be fully focused on your company.
Do not disturb – Turn off notifications so that they don’t bother you during family time or while you’re sleeping.
Log off – Take a break from status updates, snapchats, and tweets. Limit picture and video taking at events, and then post them when you get home.
By: Erenia T. Michell