Recently, I was taking a break from work—the majority of which is done online—to spend some time scrolling through Facebook. I have lived a full, joyous life without ever knowing how tall certain celebrities were. However, “20 Celebs that You’d Never Guess Were Short” was beckoning me for a click. Yes, I said beckoning. I almost heard an audible voice.
Did you know that the Artist Formerly Known as “Prince” measured in at 5’2″? ME EITHER! By the time my break from work was over, I had learned about that nugget of information.
I am not anti-internet or even anti useless information. In fact, as a self-proclaimed nerd, I am a huge fan of both of these things. However, the Internet has absolutely obliterated the attention span of our society. Unlimited information at our fingertips shifts our mind into an array of splintering branches in no time.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can you go to lunch with your friend—a real human being in the flesh—and leave your smart phone in the car?
- Do you spend more time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and in the blog world than you do with actual people?
- Do your family and friends feel like they never have your undivided attention? Ask them and they will give you a true answer.
- How does your time reading books or spending time with God, friends and family compare to your time on social media? Which of these things are you most excited about?
Believe me when I say that I am preaching to myself with this one. While not yet having attained my goal, I press on. Here are some tips that have helped me re-prioritize my time and focus:
Turn your phone on silent (no, not even vibrate) for a few hours each day.
Yes, this includes text, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram notifications, as well. You really can wait a few hours to see a picture of what your great aunt found under the rock in her backyard. You might come to embrace the peacefulness of this time each day.
Take baby steps with your goal setting.
Try to be awake for one hour in the morning without looking at your phone. Leave your phone in the car for one coffee date with a friend. Have a family/house rule of no cell phones at the dinner table. Enjoy the freedom of not being a prisoner to your handheld device.
Ask friends for accountability.
Ouch. This one doesn’t really need explanation.
Plan a few fun things that you used to do before your smartphone addiction.
Go for a walk. Hike to a waterfall. Read a book. Write a handwritten letter to someone. Play cards. Plant some flowers. Get a pedicure. And don’t document it on social media.
[Editor’s Note: If you’re like me and your workplace is the internet, this particular area can be a very real struggle. The Barna Research Group recently produced Frames, short yet meaningful reads about issues that our culture faces. There were 9 frames in all, with the final tenth one being chosen by popular vote. One of the 9 Frames was by Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who was an employee of Twitter. Her frame, Stewardship of Life in the Digital Age is a good read for anyone, but especially for those of us whose work revolves around the internet and social media.]
What has helped you find a healthy balance in the realm of smart phones and social media? What are some of the craziest goose chases your Google searches have resulted in?