Living Starts When You Take a Step Back From Technology
Lately I feel like I live in a world full of people who are so connected by technology that they don’t realize how disconnected they are from reality. Disconnected from family, disconnected from friends, disconnected from themselves.
We have conformed to a pattern of thinking that tells us if we aren't doing something during our down time, even if this "something" is scrolling on our phone, that we’re not being productive. Our minds have been trained to think something is wrong if we have a little bit of alone time, and the tech world has given us texting, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest to provide us constant companionship at our fingertips. With all of those outlets (I didn’t even name close to half of what you could be scrolling on) for communication and connectivity, how can we ever disconnect from the online world and reconnect into our own?
I know this sounds odd because bloggers tend to be the type of people who are very focused on connections. Connections will range from personal to business on a daily basis, and yes, this type of connectivity very important when it comes to furthering your business. However, there is a fine line between being adequately connected and overly connected. It’s easy to cross that line, and I find myself doing it time and time again.
You may be wondering, What is that fine line between fully and overly connected? How can you make sure you don’t cross that line?
Both of these are very good questions, with unfortunately vague answers. While the line between adequately and overly connected may vary from person to person, there are a few simple things you can do on a daily basis to make sure you’re keeping reality in check.
1. Make a list. At the beginning of the day, write seven things you can do instead of checking your phone every time there's a lull in your day. These could be chores, chapters of a book or healthy habits you are wanting to start. Every time you feel like you need to scroll on your phone, pick a task. When you've finished that task, check it off and go back to whatever you were doing before. Once you have accomplished all the things on your list for the day, you check that phone of yours! There's a catch -- if you check your phone before doing one of these things, you have to add another to the list. Are you up for the challenge?
2. Stop glorifying the word "busy." Does anyone else feel like they are constantly haunted with the image of the "perfect" boss woman: someone who wakes up at 5a.m., works out and makes breakfast, busts her butt at work from sunrise until sunset, and somehow still has time to read (or drink with friends) for fun? Sometimes it's okay that we are truly busy, but it's not attainable or healthy to keep going nonstop every minute of every day. Women who run themselves into the ground may seem like #goals, but is it worth it if you aren't functioning at maximum capability or feel like your wellbeing is suffering? If you are going nonstop most days of the week, try and use a different word to define yourself like active, engaged, hustling, on my game, diligent, or on the go. Doesn’t it sound better to say “Sorry, I’m on my game right now. I’ll have to call you back.” than "I'm busy?" Yes, yes it does. Own that hustle, but own it in a way that keeps your mind healthy.
3. Get outside. It’s been proven that just being in the sunshine for ten minutes a day, taking a deep breath of fresh air or going for a walk in nature is a natural boost for your mental and physical well-being. Not only does it relieve that pent-up stress, but it can also sharpen your creativity, boost your energy and improve concentration when you start up the next task of the day. There are some days that a walk in the park just won’t fix, but that’s why we have wine. For those days when you need a little refresher, however, reconnecting to nature is the perfect thing to do.
4. Be present. Like, ACTUALLY present. Have you ever thought of how challenging it is to be completely present in a moment without outside thoughts clogging up that head of yours? I am so guilty of not being completely in the moment, and I wouldn't be surprised if you were too. Like many of you, I love having photos associated with memories, which is why I am always taking a step back from whatever experience I'm having to capture a few pics for Instagram. How many times are you tempted to break the momentum of a good conversation or story at lunch just to get a picture of your food? Nothing is more precious than quality time with family or good friends, so cherish it by putting your phone away and tuning into what's happening right in front of you.
5. Celebrate alone time. Find things to do in your alone time that you can’t download from the app store. Whether it's writing your thoughts in a journal or simply shutting your eyes for a quick five minute meditation, what you do in your alone time matters. When you have the opportunity to spend time by yourself and away from the craziness of life, embrace every second of it. You are the one in control of how you spend that time. No one else needs to be a part of that decision, and nothing needs to be accomplished but what you think will make you a better (and happier!) person. You can be as lazy or as productive as you want, just make sure you’re designating time each day that is allows you to cherish the real MVP -- you.
We live in a world that never stops posting, liking, scrolling and following. You aren't alone in feeling like you have wasted precious time with family and friends has been wasted by scrolling through your phone instead of appreciating the moment. We have spent too many nights documenting our life instead of living our life. We have spent too many days simply going with the flow and not doing what we are passionate about. How can you expect to have an impact on anyone or anything if you don’t fully exist in the world you're simply existing in?
My challenge for you is to actively try and be a part of THIS world that you are living in right now. Make those important networking connections in real life but make sure to spend time alone, get outside and find productive things to do instead of looking at your phone. My message is not to say that you should go ahead and delete every social media app on your phone (unless you’ve reached an addictive state... then you do what you need to, girl.) However, be conscious of how you’re spending your time, and if you are spending the majority of your down time scrolling throughother peoples' lives, try and fix it. The world we live in offers an abundant amount of opportunity and potential for amazing experiences, but you have to be willing to go after those things. There's only one way to really get out of the world what it has to offer: stop existing and start living.