“We are spending far too much of our time doing things that don’t really matter to us.” -Nancy Colier
I was at the beach the other day with my husband — have I mentioned how much I love living in southern Florida? — and as soon as we got our chairs and umbrella set up and started to take in the beautiful view, a woman sitting nearby started a long conversation on her cell phone, just as if she were sitting in her living room. Only if she had been, she wouldn’t have talked so loudly.
What’s going on here? Not only was her call rude to the people around her who were forced to listen, but she was shutting herself off from the incredible scenery surrounding us.
And yes, I fantasize about starting a website called “I Heard It On the Grapevine” where anybody can write in and report what they heard that day and where. Maybe ego-inflated employers would stop firing employees on their phones in a crowded airport van–I was there–or stop giving sensitive details about their businesses or transactions where anybody listening can make note of them. (Won’t say what I heard or where, but I will say it was a major charity.)
A recent column by Jane Brody, “Put down your phone to feel the ‘power of off'”, backs me up. She mentions the experiences we’ve all witnessed in restaurants, playgrounds, shopping, or just walking down the street, when people become so engrossed in their devices that they forget where they are and who they’re with. They become smart phone zombies.
Nancy Collier, in her new book, “The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World,” makes the excellent point that, “We are spending far too much of our time doing things that don’t really matter to us.”
I do use a lot of digital technology myself, sometimes because I’m just feeling too lazy to do anything else. As a result I overuse it, but in the future maybe I’ll try harder to follow Nancy Collier’s excellent suggestions:
- Be more aware of how much I overuse technology to the detriment of myself and those around me. Time to pay attention.
- Make small changes, such as not using my device while eating or enjoying my friends, (which I really don’t do) and engage in more activities each day with my devices turned off. (A suggestion that hits home.)
- Spend more time doing what is most important to me. (My two reading challenges will nudge me in that direction.)
Sound good? Have you been thinking about this, too? Are you trying to ignore texts and emails when you really don’t need to watch out for them? How are you doing?