I check my phone when I get up. I open up my computer soon after that. I usually have at least 5 tabs open online at all times. I monitor email from three accounts, texts, Facebook notifications and messages and Twitter notifications and messages. I run several businesses and connect socially and read news. I stay connected.
Most of the time I like being connected; staying in touch; being accessible. Sometimes I need it to stop.
In this world of always being plugged in, tuned in and completely distracted all of the time, it's hard not to feel a sense of urgency….every minute of the day….every day of the week.
Even when on vacation (which is rare) or late at night or at dinner time or bed time or during family time or me time or any time, it's hard to tell everyone "I'm simply not available. I will get back to you soon" and just turn it all off.
We have created a culture that is never more than a fingertip away from a quick response. What a great way to connect and reply and inform and be informed. Except this connection sometimes feels like a burden.
If everyone always knows that you surely will see the text or message or email or voicemail there is a feeling of urgency. It will just take a second to tap out a quick response. It won't distract from your current undertaking.
Except that it is never just one tiny interruption.
We allow the "convenience" of technology to rule our lives. We allow ourselves to be duped by the idea that electronic interruptions won't detract from our being present in the moment with our families and friends. We allow ourselves to believe that we are being efficient and aiding others by immediately responding.
I am as guilty of this as anyone else. Alas, I am also guilty of sending communications to someone at night, on a weekend, when I know they are busy with family duties or otherwise occupied and anxiously awaiting a response; thinking surely he or she saw this text/message/email/voicemail and could quickly and easily respond….
Everyone and everything moves faster these days. Need a reminder of this? Just watch a movie from the 1980s and notice how slowly the plot unfolds and how deliberate each line is delivered and gauge your own antsy pants and how you want to check your phone for messages and the time and how you think to yourself, "I don't remember this movie moving so slowly."
I do so appreciate our speed in communications. I need it for my business. It's how I stay connected to friends and family. It keeps my life humming along.
But what I must remember is that I am in control of these electronic devices. I can decide when I will respond to their beeps and hums and vibrations. I will not feel a sense of urgency when I am "off" the clock.
I will look up and see the vibrantly colored leaves. I will watch my kids play at the park. I will listen to my husband's stories from the day. I will allow my brain to be uncluttered and sit quietly and patiently in that solitude. I will stick to my work schedule and that includes communications coming to me through my phone. I will enjoy the view. I will not feel that sense of urgency every minute of every day.
How about you? Over and out…