Reading is something that I do work related, and for pleasure as well. I read a lot throughout the day. Sometimes I just shake my head at the sheer idiocy that people write. I read about a little tool that allows me to check how many times I look at my phone each day. Sorry, it’s called an app.
Aha, ok, whatever. Let’s just return to life.
But, too late, I’m curious!
I went to on to break my own rules and downloaded that damn app. In the past, I’ve written extensively on the subject of distractions, and here I am, getting myself a distraction. Not good.
It was a typical rainy day at the West Coast I found it remarkable that I had checked my phone 36 times. Thirty-six times!
Now you may say that you check your device more often than that, but, those 36 times I accumulated during the first six hours of my work day. Ladies and Gentlemen, the operative words here are work and day.
Checking my phone roughly six times an hour, when was I working? Or better yet, how much more work did I get done.
Obviously, the reason for checking on my phone has got to do with productivity. Nope, a big no to that.
After that experience, I talked with a friend of mine about the idea that we no longer leave time for boredom. And it’s just that, an idea.
We refuse to leave space for thoughts and ideas and experiences to settle in and marinate in our brains.
We murder thoughts, ideas, and experiences whenever there’s a small pause in our day by automatically reaching for our phone.
Yesterday, I drove to the animal shelter, I have neither the time nor the space to own a dog, but I sincerely love dogs. There is this energy bundle called Tyra, a black Lab Shepherd mix. The animal shelter is outside the city in a smaller, more rural town with no houses and loads of space.
It was a beautiful day. I sat in the grass of what was normally the fairgrounds to watch Tyra making friends with fellow four-legged fur balls. There was a lake behind me, with a small boat ramp.
I don’t know if it was the smell in the air or the weather, the setting, but I was suddenly awash in the moment. It was a combination of nostalgia and being completely present. Everything slowed down and was perfect.
Of course, I managed to reach instinctively for my phone and nearly ruined it. But I stopped myself and just sat there, watching Tyra and the other dogs and soaking it all in.
I honestly can’t say why this moment struck me the way it did, but I had a deep longing for more. The nostalgia felt like the carefree days of my childhood. The presence pulled me out of my head. It calmed the swirl of ideas and information and the need to get something done. All the stuff we gravitate towards to quell the boredom.
My friend likes to say, “don’t just do something, stand there.”
I suspect that’s not easy for us. I know it isn’t for me. But I also know I need more of it.
I know I have to look up, get out, sit still, and stop filling every still moment with a glance at my email or Facebook.
The feeling of being out with the dog hasn’t left me yet.
I don’t know if I will do anything with the information on the app, but I can tell you one thing, it’s already given me all I need to know. And I certainly don’t need another reason to check my phone.
Break out, break out now. Realize that the moments such as the one I experienced are few and far between. Look back to your childhood days, and I’m sure you’ll see people looking at one another while having real distraction-free moments.
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