Remember that old saying? “Stop and smell the roses.”
Okay, now — totally rewording this into 21st Century jargon: “Wait, give me a sec to stop and instagram, snapchat or boomerang these roses.” I’m laughing because pulling out snapchat was naturally (and obviously) top mind of mind the minute I walked past a garden of roses in Charleston last week. If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen. Right?!
One of my goals for 2017 is to stay more present. I can’t say that I’ve conquered it, but just simply staying mindful of the 21st Century addiction to smartphones, snapchat filters, and group texts is a step in the right direction. In a society where staying socially present oftentimes dominates staying physically present, getting caught up in the social dance feels like the everyday norm. Here are a few tips I’m working on to stay right here, right now, all the time:
- Mindfulness — Step 1: mindfulness is always step 1. Understanding and being fully aware that social media, computers, or our phones are constantly pulling us away from the present moment is the right step. My dad watched a 60 Minutes segment on our generation’s impulsive addiction to smartphones the other day, and during the 10 minute segment, I had the hardest time simply fighting the urge to unlock and refresh my phone. Boy, did this wake me up.
- Turn off alerts and notifications — I’ve done this for a couple of my devices for texts, social networks, and more and it feels like grace. Notifications are the biggest distraction from any thought or conversation. I’ve managed to figure out a good system where notifications need to be always turned off on which devices. This keeps my ADD-like “monkey brain” from hopping from 10,0324 different things to another and back again. Think about which notifications are stealing your focus throughout the day … and adjust.
- Don’t be that guy (or girl) — We all know that person (and I’m just as guilty as the other) who’s constantly nose-deep in their phone amidst conversation. 2017 has had me training myself to put the phone away, I’m talking a-w-a-y, in the purse, bag, pocket – whatever during talks, meals, coffees, and meetings. Real friendships are the ones that are fully present and LBH:: everyone loves a good listener.
- No, you don’t have to post in the moment — Being a blogger, posting is part of my job. But I’ve learned that the requirements of posting on social media don’t always have to be present time. One of my tactics has been document, put the phone away, enjoy, and find a time for editing and posting later. This has been a struggle for me (especially when traveling), but the more I practice snapping a photo and then revisiting it later — the more I find the peace and relief in enjoying the outfit, music, scenery, or people around me.
- Set boundaries — working for myself has been difficult since I can pick up and change my schedule at any moment. But setting boundaries with people, friends, or even apps that take up way too much of my time (cough, cough: scrolling through instagram) has been quite the strategy. E.G.: Dear Instagram, I’m saving scrolling through you until after 5pm. There’re a lot of different ways you can manage this that would work best for you.
- The outdoors are on your side — Ha, this title cracks me up; but it works. One of my favorite times of the day is when I leave my phone at home — and head out on a walk, have quiet time on a balcony, or simply sit somewhere outside and listen to the silence and nature, people watch, etc.. Whenever I try this with my phone by me, I suddenly find myself reading an article about glitter eye shadow or a pet monkey (not kidding here) and realize that I have been swept back into the black hole (also known as the internet) once again. Leave it at home.
- Make time for it — Quiet time is an essential time in my book; whether it’s for devotionals or praying or just simply being. Allowing yourself this time of peace in the morning or at night — sans phone — creates a habit of finding peace in the moment. Twenty-one days makes a habit; just simply start.
- Actually get out of bed, after the alarm — I think one of the biggest times I’m sucked into my phone is post-alarm. Scrolling through those social networks in the AM is the struggle. Simply keeping my phone on the charger and popping out of bed with Chloe is the quickest way to not be sucked into a black hole of social media.
Do you guys have any tips for staying right here, right now? Would love to hear from you! XOXO