This morning, between texting a friend, responding to a few emails, and keeping my daughter entertained at a coffee shop, I read an article in the New York Times that talked about our technological culture where we have sacrificed meaningful conversations and real moments for surface connections. It wasn't the first article like this I've seen, and certainly my husband has forwarded me no less than three in an effort to get me to change my ways, but this one came at a time when I was ready to hear it. I know I'm on my phone too much. I am constantly trying to squeeze in a quick text, tweet, email or facebook post, all in the name of business. But I also know it's a type of compulsion. The emails and messages pour in, and I get stressed about them piling up or leaving someone's question unanswered. . . and there's always the possibility that someone has posted a life-changingly humorous photo of a kitten with a conversation bubble.
I am a born multi-tasker, and I feel if I can respond, export, touch-base in those in-between moments, I can move through my to do list a little more quickly. But I am curious to know if this is even true. If I set aside certain times each day to respond to emails and check in with social media outlets (a necessary evil for what I do) and spend other times more fully engaged with the people and the life in front of me, will I get more done overall? Will I feel more balanced and less frenetic and scattered? Will I train the people who are trying to reach me that I am not always available, and that a delayed response does not mean a lack of interest?
I suspect at the very least I will feel more balanced, and I hope a change would make me more productive as well. And I know it will make me less annoying to the people around me. I don't want to be "that person" to everyone I know, and I especially don't want my kids to think of my phone as the sixth member of our family.
So an experiment.
1. I will set aside two times per day to respond to emails and check in with social media. (I do use Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook postings, which is amazing.)
2. Since I know that if I have my phone on or with me, I will look at it, I need to be ok with turning it off or leaving it in my car at certain times, at least until I can break the habit (I am so pathetic).
3. Definite times of disengagment with the phone will be 6pm (or when I get home from work, whichever is earlier) to 8pm during the week.
4. I will turn off my phone during coffees, lunches and other arranged social and business events or meetings.
Starting to wonder if my phone will ever be on. . . But let's give it a try.
Tomorrow is Day One. Will you join me? Do you think it will work? Give me some support or feedback. I'll check in twice per day. . .