That little (or increasingly larger – it’s like we’re going backwards in time) phone that’s either probably in your pocket, on your desk or currently in your hand. It’s a wondrous invention isn’t it? I mean, it was pretty incredible even when it was just a phone. When you could just use it for making calls, without wires! But now, you can be connected to the world wide web and an abundance of social accounts with the flick of a thumb. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Email, Text Messages, and so on and so forth. It’s almost like another full time job in itself – but one we volunteer to opt into.
Yep, that’s right. Whether you realise it or not, that little phone is probably a massive burden on you, your ability to be in the present moment and also your ability to make decisions. It’s like a sponge in your pocket, absorbing a slice of your creativity and of your self awareness. If you fall into the category (and be honest with yourself here) of checking your phone, when you’re bored, when you don’t know what to do or just every X minutes, then your attention isn’t where it needs to be, it’s directed at your phone and the virtual people inside it. Sometimes we use this phone attention to escape real world decisions or to mask what’s going on right now and what we should be looking to achieve – I’m a victim of this as much as anyone.
The Decision Sponge
This electronic sponge can act as a carrier of hope which never comes to fruition. It gives us the power to put off decisions because we think that someone may call us, a message will come through, an incredible Facebook update which instantly changes your life, anything will save us from making a current decision or getting on with something that we’ve been putting off for a couple of weeks already. Does this ring any chimes?
The Time Killer
At the same time, it’s an immense time killer – that time is never coming back, it’s gone. Do you ever use your phone in bed? One minute it’s 11pm, the next, it’s suddenly 12am, and all you seem to have done is scroll through a few pointless notifications and clicked on a couple of tweet links. It’s the same whenever you do it, and no matter how long for. Entire days can be lost in your phone status, you fail to commit to things because you’re absorbed by your phone – and that can be simple things such as engaging with your children to losing hours of time where you could have met a friend, started writing a book or any number of things which play on your mind.
It’s incredible what you can get done in just 5 minutes. Our minds often convince us that 5 minutes is barely enough time to say “Hello”, when in actual fact I’ve just typed out most of this article in 5 minutes, and ultimately, what will gives me the best feeling? Wasting time now with supposed “instant gratification” spent wasting the battery life of my phone for a few minutes, or getting some awesome shit done in exactly the same amount of time?
One of the biggest blocks to our creative flow; the difference between grudgingly writing out an average article, to producing something of outstanding quality – where you’ve poured your passion into it whist really enjoying it (if writing is your thing) and has the potential to be shared left right and centre (ironically through social media) – is fixation. If part of our mind is partly fixated and aware of the phone – even when you’re not directly using it – then that’s a part of your mind that could be creating something amazing. Often it’s the very same part of our mind where creativity derives from.
By removing that fixation, you return that part of your mind to yourself, where you can then use it to focus on whatever is in front of you.
It’s incredibly simple, but yet, we can still be hesitant about breaking the “ON” habit; maybe we’ll miss something important, something critical?! Ask yourself this? Over the past week… No, actually, the past month; have you missed anything which you needed to deal with immediately? That couldn’t wait for a few hours? The chances are, NO.
If you turn off your phone, you’re suddenly faced with nowhere to look, nowhere to turn and no possibility of “being saved”.. this might seen unusual, perhaps even scary (worryingly) for a few minutes, that is until you embrace it. Your mind stops wandering through an imaginary social land – a bit like waiting at a pub for a friend to turn up – and is back where it belongs. It allows you to think more, feel more, and act more. Just turning your phone off for a few hours can inspire you with a new direction and dictate how the rest of your day pans out.
Try it. Switch your phone off for a couple of hours, or even better, an entire day. I suspect it’ll be one of your most productive days in recent times.