I was in London recently for the weekend – having arranged to meet my sister and go out for dinner. As she lives on the south coast and we live in the East Midlands, we decided to book a nice Hotel with our respective partners and make a weekend of it. I hadn’t quite planned what happened next.
We always go to London by train as it is convenient and more environmentally friendly. On this particular occasion, there was a replacement bus service for part of the journey, so we parked and got on the coach at our home station.
Sat on the coach and reaching into my pocket for my mobile phone to pay for the car park via a phone app, I realised that I hadn’t picked it up when I left home. “No problem” said my wife, “I’ve got my phone, so if people need to contact us urgently over the weekend they can always phone me”. Also, you can download the app and pay for it that way. It was too late to do anything different, as there was no turning back
Cue mild panic!
It was when she reached in her bag to check her phone, she realised that she had left hers at home as well!
Setting aside the issue of paying for the parking (and the expectation of a fine!) we have elderly relatives and need to be contactable.
Fortunately we’d brought ab iPad mini with us, so were able to use wi-fi to let people know we had an issue and point them at my sister if they need to call us. We also fixed the car park payment and resigned ourselves to the fact that we would be phone-less for the weekend.
On the train home Sunday evening, we reflected on our weekend off from being “always switched on”. As a coach I am always working with people who need a healthier relationship with their technology and especially social media. So in a sense I was having a taste of my own dog food.
When I work with clients, it is quite common for me to suggest that they should either:
· Avoid distraction by leaving their phone in another room; and/or
· Disable notifications.
I think we went one better than that – leaving our phones over 120 miles away! In fact, what we have now resolved to do is have one weekend a month when we don’t have our phones switched on at all.
Firstly, ask yourself the following questions:
- From a work perspective are you so important that you have to be contactable 24×7 so need to be physically attached to your phone?
- What is the quality of the communication – are you meaningfully engaging or simply being distracted by trash?
- Where is the time for you? Are you letting other people decide how you spend your time?
Now here is the hard bit – what stops you switching your phone off for the weekend? After all, in the ‘old days’ we simply left phone numbers of the places we were going and people called if they really needed you…. If you feel stressed by modern life, perhaps this is something for you to think about?
If you need some help to switch off, why not give us a call?