You don’t have to be a business owner to be glued to your phone (however, if you are one, it’s pretty much a requirement.) I’m constantly on my phone. And I mean constantly. If I’m not talking on it, I’m looking at it, touching it, or listening to it. It’s a necessity, really, and I’m thankful for such an amazing technology that allows me to have the world at my fingertips. Having said that, it’s also a necessity to at some point put it down. So what’s my simple tip, the one thing that I don’t do? I don’t keep my work email on my phone. *GASP*, I know! I disconnect to reconnect…
I have an evening email-check cutoff of about 8:00 – anything after that can wait. If it’s an emergency, I will get a phone call, period. The only thing that checking my email at 1o:00 will do is give me anxiety and the urge to reply – chances are, the person on the other end of the email will not reply to your email until the following day anyway. I simply step away from the computer, and don’t get back on until the morning. I have learned over the years to practice restraint, and to realize that the world will not come to an end should I not read my inbox. So, as I do dinner and bedtime with Kai and Sienna, as I sink into my favorite chair to read or watch tv, I can do so in peace, without the anxiety-inducing “dings” of my inbox raising my heart rate. It’s a foolproof way to resist any urge to reach for the phone, to see if “such-and-such” wrote me back. Yes, it seems like such a small thing, but it has such a big impact – not only will you be more relaxed, but so will those around you when you give them your undivided attention. It will allow your mind to rest, to disconnect and reconnect with your life outside of work – because at the end of the day, that is what life is all about. Don’t believe me? 😉 Read below.
In an article on npr.com, writer Patti Neighmond quotes psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age – “when you’re texting or answering email, the part of your brain that is engaged is the ‘to do’ part, where there’s also a sense of urgency to get the task accomplished, a sense of time pressure. So we’re much more irritable when interrupted.”
“We are behaving in ways that certainly tell children they don’t matter, they’re not interesting to us, they’re not as compelling as anybody, anything, any ping that may interrupt our time with them,” she says.
“In research for her book, Steiner-Adair interviewed 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 18, asking them about their parents’ use of mobile devices. The language that came up over and over and over again, she says, was ‘sad, mad, angry and lonely.” One 4-year-old called his dad’s smartphone a “stupid phone.” Others recalled joyfully throwing their parent’s phone into the toilet, putting it in the oven or hiding it. There was one girl who said, “I feel like I’m just boring. I’m boring my dad because he will take any text, any call, anytime — even on the ski lift!’
Steiner-Adair says we don’t know exactly how much these mini moments of disconnect between a parent and child affect the child in the long term. But based on the stories she hears, she suggests that parents think twice before picking up a mobile device when they’re with their kids.”
Do you have any tricks or tips on disconnecting and reconnecting? Share with us below – we would love to hear!