When I wrote my post on Monday, about completely checking out after the holidays, I realized it wasn't the first time I'd written a post like that in the last year or so. I also realized, after talking to almost everyone I know, that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. While January usually brings a sense of refreshment and renewal for all of us, this year, everyone seemed to feel unmotivated and down. I felt relieved to know that I wasn't alone, but also, I was concerned. Usually I could count on my friends to re-motivate me and lift me up. Yet, here we were, all in the same boat, a boat that none of us wanted to be in.
When I was in LA with my token non-blogger friend, she remarked over and over again how frequently I was more involved in my phone and less involved in real life. If she hadn't pointed it out (and jokingly even threatened to take my phone on multiple occasions) I honestly don't know if I would have ever even noticed. And yet there I was, at happy hour, on the beach, watching sunset, riding bikes, out eating, with my best friend, who I hadn't seen in several years, right in front of me....and my face was in a phone. I was embarrassed, but also it made me realize something. Technology is burning us out. We're all aware so aware that it's burning us out, and yet, we can't seem to stop. I mean, of course, technology is great for so many things. We can order food and cars within seconds, we can "see" friends and family we haven't seen in years, we can keep our finances and receipts in order with the touch of a button. Truly, technology has made so many things more convenient. But, on the flip side, despite it "simplifying" our lives, it's really complicated them, too. We're now constantly wired in, constantly feeling the need to share everything, constantly feeling the need to stay in touch with everyone everywhere. That constant leads to burnout and consequently, missing real life. I don't know about you, but life goes by quickly enough as it is and I really don't want to miss anymore of it than I already have to. So, for starters, I'm committing to less screen time. I'm setting new guidelines for when, where and how I'm using my phone, and I wanted to share them with you, to assist you, since it appears I'm not the only one struggling with this. Here's to less screen time and more energy, motivation, real connections and actual life.
Meals // If you're out for work or getting the meal comped then of course your phone needs to be out for documentary purposes. But, if you're with your significant other, friends or family, snap at most one or two quick photos, then store your phone away until the meal is over.
Me Time // Whether you're at the spa, taking a bubble bath or just reading a book, you're doing something for yourself to help you relax, unwind and recharge. However, if you're distracting yourself with news feeds and so-and-so's political opinion, you'll be doing anything but relaxing and you certainly won't be clearing your mind for creativity.
Working Out // Similarly to "me time", working out is a time for you to recharge and re-energize. It's a great way to destress and refocus. But if you're stopping every few minutes to check your phone, not only are you not getting a good workout in but you're also not reaping the full benefits of more energy and a clearer head.
Entertainment // Whether it's a concert, movie, play or really any other form of entertainment, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you don't overshare it. Out of respect for the people performing, the people you are with, the other people around you and for your hard earned money that you spent on tickets, make sure you are present and involved. Similarly with meals, if you really want to, snap a picture or two, but then leave it at that. Trust me when I say that no one, and I do mean no one, wants to watch an hour of bright, loud, obnoxious videos from last night's concert, no matter who was performing.
In Bed // Do yourself a favor and just don't be on your phone in bed. The light will keep you awake and whatever it is that you're reading isn't important enough to sacrifice proper sleep. I've been plugging my phone in across the room so it makes it harder to look at it before falling asleep but I am still prone to grab it in the morning and then head back to bed to wake myself up by scrolling my news feed. Truthfully, the only thing I'm really doing is hurting my eyes and stressing myself out with news or emails.
While Walking // I'm so guilty of this one, and have even been yelled at for it multiple times (not ok, but I also somewhat understand). If you need to send a quick note, or check something out, that's completely understandable. But do yourself, and others, a favor by pulling off to the side. If you try being on your phone while walking, you can be a danger for yourself or those around you (walking into people or traffic, etc), you can miss your surroundings (which may be really cool and beautiful, or may even include David Beckham ;) ), you can get lost and you can make yourself a prime target for things like someone trying to steal a bag.
During Church // I realize this doesn't apply to everyone, and I myself don't struggle with this, but I see so many people in church who just sit there and scroll on their phones. I can't help but wonder why they even bothered coming. Whatever you were hoping to get out of church, I can assure you, you won't be getting it on your phone.
Do you already stay off your phone during any of these times? Are there any other times you would add to this list?