Watching Iz and Jake play on the phones reminded me of just how stressed I’ve been about always feeling “connected.” Work bleeds into life when email push notifications come every 30 minutes, day or night. Comparison of social lives is a constant reminder with every Instagram or Twitter or Facebook refresh. The need to document every single latte, shopping spree, and cupcake takes away from living in the moment.
I personally turn my phone on silent (except for my alarm) whenever I fall asleep at night and keep it on the other side of the room. But other than those four-ish hours, I’m hooked. I push for new emails, respond to tweets, and navigate the streets of Manhattan… all. the. time.
While shopping one night after work (#retailtherapy), I had a super long phone call with a friend. I should note, staying in touch with long-distance friends is really a huge benefit of technology. Anyway, my phone ended up dying midway through my errands. I had my iPhone backup battery, but I decided to just not charge it. The hour or so shopping without my phone was kind of liberating.
I was on the subway home and because I didn’t have my iPhone to listen to music, I did have some time to think. I realized just how sad it was that I didn’t disconnect more. I boiled down this need to be constantly connected to two things: FOMO (feeling of missing out) and panic over missing an important email for work.
The FOMO thing is really stressful. It’s dumb, but it still drives me crazy! What if I miss a text message!? What if I miss a phone call?! What if I don’t hear about last minute plans in time?! The verdict that I ultimately came to was…. who cares? Yes, I’m missing one event, but if I’m really living in the moment then no event should distract me from that.
As for the important email fear… I just have to get over that. I mean, honestly, there are very few things that are absolute emergencies. Plus, constantly “being available” means that people know that I’m constantly available… so I end up being the first person to reach out to. But this is my fault. If I don’t want to be constantly available, then I can’t be constantly available. There is absolutely no harm in taking a night off or a weekend off or simply an hour off. The world will keep on spinning; the work will be there when I return.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve been implementing more disconnection lately. During a four-hour dinner, I didn’t check my phone at all. We were engrossed in conversation… and our phones weren’t even a thought in our minds. It was amazing. Real life > digital life. Always.
Turning your phone off when you’re with your friends
Keeping your phone in another room while working
Committing to a specific time every night to spend an hour away from all screens
Turning off push notifications
Collecting phones as a group when out to dinner and turning them all off
How do you disconnect?