Whatever your “alert” of choice, in today’s constantly connected world, these sounds from our phones are hard, if not impossible, to ignore.
Ask yourself: What would happen if I didn’t immediately respond to that text, email, voicemail, smoke signal, etc? What happened to the 9-to-5 job? What happened to the line between work and home/family? What happened to being present wherever we find ourselves?
I admonish my daughter constantly to “Be where your feet are” because I see what she’s missing with her divided attention and I know all too well her FOMO (fear of missing out). One of my previous posts, Take a Vacation. You Earned It, talked about our recent summer vacation. For the first time in a long time, I just “checked out”…I “let the dog eat my cell phone” if you will.
I intentionally did NOT take a bunch of photos with my phone. I didn’t want my attention to be divided between my present experience and the anxiety associated with capturing it in a photo. (a photo that, let’s face it, may or may not ever be seen in the future.)
I instead chose to commit my experience to my MEMORY, where I can visit it anytime I want, and I encouraged my family to do the same.
Recently, in the Kansas City Star Career Section, there was an article entitled “Working 9 to 5? You must be kidding”.
The article talked about “anticipatory stress” and pointed out that even when we don’t actually have emails to act upon, the “mere norm of availability and the actual anticipation of work create a constant stressor that precludes an employee from work detachment.”
I witnessed this first-hand during our vacation. As we got closer to the end of the trip, my husband became more anxious. And, once we got home, he spent his Sunday night going through his numerous emails in order to be prepared for Monday. Excuse me, but WTH? This fragmented work/life barrier doesn’t make us more efficient or productive; it simply burns us out.
Our attention is too easily and too often divided to the point that we’re aren’t ever really where we are…we’re only loosely connected to the moment.
I think it’s time to resurrect the three R’s. No, not ‘reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic’, but Rest, Relaxation, and Recharge! Texts, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc…I wonder if we’ve lost perspective on who we are, what we’re doing, our scope of influence, and our ability to “be where our feet are.” Are we really doing such important work, such earth-shaking, world-altering work that we can’t take an evening off?
Here’s a challenge for you: Sit down. Put your feet up. Feed the dog your cell phone if you have to. Relax. Breathe. Meditate. Be present. See how it feels. And then keep doing it.
I promise that everyone in your life, but most importantly YOU…will be better for it.