By Eileen Habelow, Ph.D.
When is the last time you spent your ‘spare time’ thinking to generate new thoughts of your own, allowing your mind to wander instead of consuming recycled thoughts from someone else on social media or websites?
The research is clear – we are addicted to our phones. We barely need the empirical research, though – all you have to do is look around you – people standing on the street corner waiting for the light to change; people standing at the coffee shop waiting for their coffee to be made; people standing in line at the grocery store!
Most of us fill every ‘spare’ minute by glancing at our phones – checking email, glancing at social media, checking for new texts. And, by ‘spare’ minute I mean a 45-second ride on the elevator from the 1st to the 4th floor. GLANCE. GLANCE. GLANCE. Or, it could be the 3-minutes it takes to move from one meeting room to the next. GLANCE. GLANCE. GLANCE. How about the bathroom – do you use your bathroom time to glance at your phone? How about at a red light? GLANCE. GLANCE. GLANCE. We fill every ‘spare’ minute with incoming information.
Our brains need a break. As we glance, all we do is fill our brain with more incoming information…without enough time to really process. We are just clouding our thoughts. Filling our brains.
How much time and brain space does all of that glancing leave for being conscious of what is happening around us? How many opportunities to connect with people do we miss as we fly by them to our next meeting? And, what can we do about it?
We need some life hacks to change this habit – we need a ‘hack’ that forces us to not GLANCE, but to GREET the people who are right next to us! Here’s one – how about put your phone in your pocket and don’t even glance at it the next time you ride the elevator? Maybe, instead of having the phone on your dashboard you could put it in the back seat. Maybe even turn it off while you drive. GASP!
Here is a challenge to all leaders – as you walk from meeting to meeting, take time to greet, instead of time to glance. Put your phone in your pocket, or even better, leave it on your desk. Make connections with people! The return on that investment of time will pay way more dividends than glancing at a few emails.
Turn your phone off for 90-minutes – I DARE YOU.