Sometimes, I forget how powerful cell phones can be, and that’s probably because I’ve rarely been without mine. I recently read a New York Times article on how to not let your phone ruin your vacation and it reminded me how much we let our phones consume us. I will be the first to admit that I would most likely spend a bit of my vacation posting Instagram pictures of the beach and checking snapchat to see what my friends at home are up to. Most of the time, phones are extremely helpful tools…if I’m being honest, I laugh at the thought of using a road map to get from point A to point B. Phones allow us to stay connected to friends and family or check in on work when we’re not there, but they also have a tendency to take us away from what’s happening around us. They make it easier to pay attention to the GPS than the road that we’re driving on, or we focus our attention on emails from co-workers more than the ones we’re in a meeting with. Below are a few tips that help me disconnect from my phone and reconnect with what is happening around me.
Do Not Disturb
The first thing I do before walking into work or class is put my phone on do not disturb. This helps me focus my attention on the tasks I need to complete with no distractions from my phone buzzing.
Turn Off Notifications
If you can, turn off the notifications on the apps that consume the most of your attention. For me, it was turning off the notifications on my school email for the summer and getting back to them only when I took the time to check my email. This removed the sense of urgency I felt when I saw a notification pop up on my screen.
Leave it Behind
I find it refreshing to “forget” my phone sometimes. It can be as easy as leaving it in the car while you run into the grocery store or a different room while you’re at the dinner table. My favorite place to be phone-free is the gym. Just an hour without my phone in my hand helps me focus my energy on a good workout and re-focus after.
Next time you’re feeling distracted or overwhelmed, try removing your phone from the equation and shift your attention to who and what is most important!