Smart phones are addictive. I should know. I have everything on mine. Apps to keep me financially fit, in touch with friends, healthy, happy and on top of my business. I even have an app that helps me to get a good sleep at night…yes, I do sleep with my phone. My phone is always in my pocket or near by during my every waking hour. Oi vey. So I did an experiment recently during a recent vacation to Maui. I did the unthinkable. I started leaving my cell phone behind in the condo. Shocking, I know. But here’s the deal, it was incredibly freeing.
For better and worse, we live in an age of constant connectivity. I’ve written several times about being unplugged while on vacation and the amazing benefits it brings you both in your personal life and back at work. You’d think I’d have known better when it came to my very clever smart phone.
While I realize it might not be possible for you to remain out of touch with your work completely for your whole vacation, you do need some unplugged time. This fuels your creative motor. This is precisely why smart phones pose such a slippery slope. Like me, you might tell yourself that you’ll just use it for taking pictures, that’s all. Good luck.
Try not answering that phone call or text. Just try not responding to that notification sound from your favorite ap. It is bloody tough and here’s why. We have behaviorally conditioned ourselves to respond immediately to every little chirp, buzz or beep that emanates from it’s incredibly sexy and elegantly designed little body. And this behavioral conditioning is very, very strong, so strong people have even begun experiencing phantom cell phone vibrations.
A Gradual Withdrawl
So, back to where we began. I decided to live on the edge and leave the cell behind for a short time, one hour to be exact. I wanted to ensure that I set myself up for success you see, by setting a ‘doable’ goal. I also chose to take my camera with me so that I would have that separate function that I use so often on my phone. At first, it felt very odd. I can’t recall if I broke out into a sweat, but I did start noticing that all my critical bodily functions, breathing, heart beat and the like, continued unabated. Neither myself or any of my family members spontaneously combusted. I also noticed that the world around me wasn’t self destructing. In fact, I actually started noticing the world around me in a different way…with sustained attention.
Soon a warm embrace enveloped me. The world around me started showing up in more detail and I found myself happily immersed in the present moment with all that was surrounding me. It was incredible and eye opening. I realized then how much that exquisitely conceived little device was keeping me from the whole raison d’etre of having time away…time away, in the here and now.