When You Break Up With Your Phone & Invite The Quiet

not how I want to be remembered…

not how I want to be remembered…

I have thirteen Twitter accounts on my phone that I “manage” or do things with for either my two companies, a smattering of clients, organizations, and a few family members (they get stuck sometimes).

I have six Facebook accounts as well, three Instagram, only one Snapchat, a myriad of messaging apps and conference calling software.

Countless email addresses, seven that I actively use daily.

A bunch of Office 365 Tenants.

And now double-digit Microsoft Teams.

One Slack, yes just one.

And I am absolutely and utterly angry that I now wear readers, which I lend to many to read menus.

I have switched to Audible almost exclusively to “read” as I can’t stand to look at another screen for pleasure reading. My Kindle is dusty.

I know that I miss and have missed many moments, you know those “sparks” that only happen once sometimes because I’m so distracted by so many many things.

In doing some exploration and asking good friends about this, I’ve found that when they are honest with me, they’ve said, yeah in the past you sometimes didn’t seem with us. Or your nose was in your phone a lot of the time. We get it, you run two businesses and have a lot of people who depend on you. But so do we when we’re with you. Brutal, but I asked.

Time besides good health is something we never have enough of and can never get back. And something we “give” to other people.

Something I wish I had listened to years ago from my best friend. He was right.

And, well, you only have one life (that you remember).

So, in working on my own “practice,” I’ve made a couple of decisions.

I have decided that I rule my phone and my computer they do not rule me.

So I have been experimenting with this for the past couple months or so.

Certain things, people and situations claim my immediate attention of course, but when I’m with someone or at dinner or technically “off duty” I’m putting my phone in my purse, I don’t wear an Apple Watch anymore, and I’m turning off any notifications that can simply wait.

And I’ve decided that I wholeheartedly believe in meditation, deep listening, and that multi-tasking can be set to simmer.

My phone breakup combined with meditating 20 minutes religiously in the morning and then pulling out my favorite 10-minute one when I’m about to work on something, speak or write have quieted my mind.

People often call mediation woo-woo or oh you’ve turned so Californian, but I have to say, it is changing my perspective. I would dip into it but not be consistent. When people talk about a daily practice, that means daily, not meandering, not when you feel like it but daily. If I can take a pill every morning for my thyroid and brush my teeth, I can certainly take 20 minutes to clear my mind for the day or whenever I need it.

And I’m not fussy about it, I do it wherever and whenever, I like the Free UCLA meditations, drop that into a search engine, and you’ll find it. I have it as a favorite, yes on my phone so we aren’t completely estranged. :) Thank you, Rachel.

I hadn’t been to a big technology event since being deliberate about quieting my phone and my mind. This past week, I meditated every morning and then right before I spoke — I don’t think I’ve ever felt more connected and at ease giving presentations as I did this week in Boston. I’m super comfortable on stage, but I don’t know I felt more dropped in and present.

The conversations I had with people were deeper, more connected and I remember them. And I noticed other people who had their phones away and then those that could not stop checking their phones. Their pockets and wrists were continuously buzzing, taunting them to look at every little notification and not necessarily paying attention to me.

I counted how many times with one person. In 10 minutes it was about 15 times they looked.

Guilty as charged, of course, but I think how we act towards our phones, computers, tablets, etc.… and letting ourselves get spun up and so full of noise is a lot the environment of our world, but it is also a lot of our choice.

My phone had a camera issue a couple of weeks ago, and I had to leave it at the Apple Store for three hours. I took a walk, got some lunch and went and bought a new journal since I hadn’t brought one. It kinda drove me crazy for the first hour, but then I was just free from it. It was a huge reminder of how reliant we are on these devices and how connected I am to mine.

On a work conference call today a gal said, “we have to finish this tonight as I’m spending tomorrow with my kids and no phone for me and I’ll be offline.” I told her that I appreciated her setting boundaries and that we’d rock things out, so we didn’t need to ping her. (yes “ping” it’s a tech geeky term). I have spent many a “vacation” in the past pissing off people because I couldn’t disconnect. Big ups to her for choosing about her time and how she spends and gives it. I wish I could get that time, those moments back, but alas ever forward.

Anyway, if I don’t answer your text, snap, IM, email or phone call immediately don’t worry I will get to you — I’m highly productive, and funnily enough, I think more so with this new theorem in mind.

We’ll see how it goes, I’m sure I’ll slip sometimes, and you are free to call me on it when I do.

But I’m gonna keep at it. Maybe you tell me.

Practice makes perfect, right? And these things are a practice, if we want them to be.

There are some great articles about this and many books — I like this one in particular by Catherine Price in the New York Times.

Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven

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