Our devices are becoming almost more important to us than nurturing the real relationships in our lives. While we may vehemently disagree with this statement, our actions are frequently proving otherwise.
I am no saint in this area. I too get sucked into my device. While there are times I am reading and responding to important emails, most often I find myself randomly browsing. I even go so far as to justify my browsing and claim it's important. I might be reading articles that peak my interest, or click on a delicious recipe I may want to make, or read someone's story about how they became strong and healthy in under thirty days. I can argue that I've learned something new that I can apply to my life. But really, what I'm doing is losing time that I can never get back with the people I care about most.
The information on the device is available at anytime. If you are by yourself and want to enjoy your device, by all means. But when you have a choice: to be on your device or spend time with someone who is literally in the same room as you, please choose the person!
Something that breaks my heart is when I see two or more people out to dinner but each person is on their own device. They disengage from one another. I've seen people eat entire meals in this state. I wonder why they chose to go out in the first place. Did they really enjoy their meal? Did they really enjoy each other's company?
Have you ever been around someone who is on their device? Did you notice that you too gravitate towards your own device? It's almost as if it gives you permission to do so. And neither party feels guilty and neither party notices how quickly time passes without a word being spoken between the two people.
Please invest in your relationships at work and at home by trying these 3 steps:
1. Put devices away and set them to airplane mode or do not disturb mode at all meals. Fully engage with those at your table.
2. Stop looking at your device right before bed and right when you get up. Instead, develop a night time ritual that allows you to read a physical book, or speak to someone about their day, their hopes, their dreams, their fears, and their life. Maybe use this time to express your gratitude and write in a gratitude journal. Take a bubble bath. Treat yourself to real life.
3. When in a room with someone else, put your phone away and engage with them fully. However, we all need to use our devices at different times. If you must use your device, please be polite and express that you will use it for a specific amount of time and that you will then give your full attention to the person in the room. This allows that other person to know you'll be busy working or browsing or checking emails for a designated amount of time before you spend time together.
And, if you want to be on your own, go to another room, take a walk, do what you need to do, but don't make that person feel less important than your device by turning your attention to the device right in front of them.
Will we allow friendships and relationships to suffer because of our addictions to our devices or will we put down our devices and actually engage with those we cherish? What will you choose?