Switch off

We all find it increasingly hard to switch off. It’s all too easy to have a phone on silent and surreptitiously look at it whilst we are at another meeting or out with friends. In fact, it’s almost become acceptable behaviour to have your phone to hand ‘just in case’. Whilst we’re in work mode it may make you comfortable but it then becomes only a short step to do the same whilst on holiday.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of people who interrupt your conversation to answer a seemingly more important text or call and we may have been on holiday with partners and friends who can’t seem to leave the technology alone. How does it make you feel? And if it’s you using the technology are you really getting a break?

Back in the ‘good old days’ it was nearly impossible to contact a person if they weren’t at their desk or near a phone. Meetings were only interrupted in an emergency when another work colleague would tap on the door and ask for a ‘quiet word’. People on holiday were left to lounge on the beach in peace or tour the local area only with those actually there, not virtually. I don’t remember the world coming to an end or a deal being lost, do you?

I’m being increasingly challenged to re-establish the boundaries between both work and other life and face to face contact and social media. I’m enforcing the rule with my children that all screens are switched off a least half an hour before bed time and no screens are allowed at the dinner table. On a personal level I’m turning off my social media and my phone by 9pm and not switching it back on again until I reach my desk the next day. Sometimes I’ve even managed to switch my phone off at 8pm. I can see the phone rule being amended as my children grow and stay out later but for now the technology break is working.

I’ve started to read more again and pursue a few hobbies that had fallen by the wayside. I’m properly engaged with my children and my husband. And on some occasions I’ve even use the landline (what’s that I hear you cry!) to actually speak to those a little further away.

What’s really struck me is the respect; I’m respecting the rules I’ve set and because of it I feel comfortable with my choices. I’m rediscovering myself and respecting the person I truly am. And most importantly I’m respecting those I’m with. Really focussing on the person or activity before you brings a renewed sense of self and appreciation of life itself. Try it sometime!