Last week, I met up with a friend who had lost her cell phone by leaving it in a cab while out of town recently. While it was frustrating, she found the few days without a phone actually also very relaxing. It's a little luxury we can each afford, to make private time either with loved ones or friends, or by yourself, truly uninterrupted.
It turns out that setting up sanctuary time zones that are free of cellphones, email access, and social mediais trending. In today's edition of the New York Times, Caroline Tell has an interesting article titled "Step Away From the Phone" that describes how many people are setting some technology limits. AOL reported this past week on the concept of "Serenity Saturdays" with suggestions for limiting technology use that day and a suggested playlist of relaxing music to download and destress yourself.
In Tell's New York Times article, she shares that many families are using a special place in the kitchen, like a fishbowl or bowl, to deposit all cell phones during dinner time. Anybody who checks their phone can be given an extra task as a consequence, such as doing the dishes. This activity teaches everyone---adults and children---- to protect family time by becoming fully present and undistracted.
When friends or families are out for dinner or drinks, they can play "stack 'em up," where each person in the group adds their cell phone to the stack of them on the table. Anyone who peeks at theirs has to pay the check!
It's great role-modeling for parents to turn off or put away their phones when there are opportunities to play with the children, engage in family activities, or be present with each other.
You might consider a time at which you turn your phone off or put it away for the evening, as well as the computer and iPad. Add the television to the early turn off program, and you just might sleep better, interact more with those you live with, and feel more relaxed. Just because you can be available 24/7 doesn't mean you should be.
Tell also notes an increase in social invitations that are being issued with the directive NOT to bring your cell phone, or Instagram photos from the event, with signs reinforcing the policy at the door when you arrive.
Apparently, as cell phone use has reached an all-time high, it's now becoming more cool to be unavailable at times. Multi-tasking all day and evening takes a subtle toll on us. It's time to give ourselves a delicious luxury that is ours for the taking: being off-duty, and having private time to restore and recharge.