To say the world only moves at ever increasing paces is an understatement. While I honestly struggle to keep up, I worry most about those that are growing up in this digital world. We have the luxury of memories of different times with more freedom to unwind, relax, and being apart of an engaged conversation. Imagine living life where the only norm you know is for everyone around to be paying more attention to their phone than the world around them? Personally, I prefer a life of adventure. The only way to have that is to be aware and interested in what's going on around you.
At an Art of Marketing Conference a few years ago my life changed. I realized that it really is me in charge of how I spend my time and live my life. Much of how my day goes is tied to how I start my day and how I choose to engage the digital/social world. It was time to start making incremental changes in order to pull back. So each year I try to introduce new positive habits for managing my relationship with digital technology and communities.
In the past I've introduced habits such as not checking my phone until I am ready for the day. This includes showering, dressing, getting a good breakfast in before I see any email. This allows me to be prepared for the day and when it starts. To get a better nights rest I've stopped bringing my phone in the room and now wake up to a traditional alarm clock (unless my kids wake me up first.) These changes have brought a lot of quality of day back to my life.
What happened in 2015? Earlier this year I wanted to tackle my unfortunate habitual addiction to checking social media. I've been as guilty as anyone to filling time with social feeds. So during a business trip I took it as an opportunity to check all the way out. To some I've done the unthinkable and deleted all social media apps from my mobile devices. Without the opportunity, the desire just disappeared. Believe it or not, life didn't fall apart.
So was I cured? No. There is a lot more in your digital life than just social media. Email is the cornerstone to the digital life disruption. For the working professional nothing has more influence on your day than email. But what to do about it? One day I noticed the catalyst to the habit was time. At some point I stopped wearing a watch as part of my daily routine. Somehow I had gone from looking to a watch to find the time and started checking my phone. Once the phone was out, I was inside and lost in the wrong environment. To break the habit I started wearing a watch again figuring that if I can take away one more reason to use a mobile device then I'm going to be more engaged in life around me.
Happy to say that wearing a watch has helped me gain a bit of my life back by helping to be more engaged with the people and places around me. There's a lot more I can keep doing but I'll add them into the routine one at a time.