Try Putting Down the Phone and Live in the Moment
A few years ago I came up with my first draft of a presentation that I call, “Etiquette for the Modern Engineer.” It is a professional development presentation that focuses on ways to make a good impression for technical professionals that may be a little socially inept. It has gone through some changes over time, but recently I have felt that a huge focus of the presentation needs to be on cell phone usage. While I too feel the pull of my electronic clutch to learn what everybody who is possibly connected to me thinks of the latest cute cat video, it is distracting us from being present with the people we are physically around. While I was working as a lifeguard at Blizzard Beach, I saw many people figure out how they can electronically capture the moments of floating down the lazy river but not just living in the moment with their families. Standing in the crowd at Magic Kingdom, when the fireworks shoot up in the air and explode, all these screens are pushed up to the sky to fuzzily record the Wishes experience of the night. In the workplace, sitting in a meeting I have seen executives pull out their phones and focus their attention on whatever is going on with the little screen, losing touch with the message of the group unintentionally (perhaps) making them feel like that meeting is not important. As a hiring manager, I have seen incoming team members fidget with their phone rather than make small talk and potentially build a relationship with their potential co-workers at networking events. Building relationships with the people around you is very important when it comes to building your career. Make an attempt to keep your phone away and live in the moment. Facebook can wait. The text message can wait.
Living in the moment is also called mindfulness. It is an intentional effort to be in the present. In the evenings I lay down with my kids before they go to bed. My daughter usually opens with, what do you want to talk about? It is these moments that we can bond and I experience the joy of learning her thoughts and perspective while letting her know that she is important to me. I value her time.
There are apps that you can install on your phone to give you an idea on how much time you spend on your phone. One such app is called Moments. Moments claims that people that install their apps realize the time they spend not focused on the people around them and will reduce their time by 20%. I challenge you to consider your time spent and strive to live in the moment, to be Mindful.