Reducing distractions one blinking light, beep and notification at a time

I love technology.  I always have and I make no apologies for it.  I embrace it and try to utilize it in a way that makes me more productive. (Google Tasks and Google Calendar are a lifesaver. You have no idea.)

But there are times when technology takes over and my phone  becomes an additional appendage. Over spring break last week, I realized I had a limited amount of time to get a lot done.  I had a lot of cleaning to do and I had to make up for a lot of lost time.  In the midst of all the cleaning/reorganizing/moving furniture, we realized that one of our dogs had been using our family room as a bathroom–our carpeted family room.

Now that was fun.

By the time we figured it out, my break was almost over, so I had to get a lot of scrubbing done downstairs and finish up my homework before going back to school Monday. While I was cleaning, I purposely left my cell phone upstairs so I wouldn’t be distracted by it.  I decided to no longer keep my laptop in the living room.  It has a new home on my newly cleaned desk and gets put back at the end of the day.  Junk mail got shredded in the new shredder.

Things got done and the phone wasn’t attached to my hip.  What a concept.

What I learned last week–and it IS so obvious–is that even though it’s great to always be available, it’s ok to not be, too.  If something important is going on, I’m going to check my phone.  However, it’s not always necessary to have my phone in front of me, anxiously watching for its next notification.  It’s also not necessary to check Facebook and Twitter quite as much.  I tend to check Facebook and Twitter when I am bored but cannot take on something new and time-consuming (like standing in a hallway waiting to go into class or last night when I was stirring dinner but couldn’t really move from the stove).

It’s only been a few days, but the more I have my phone away from me, the more I get tasks done.

We definitely live in a society where people are attached and dependent on technology, but  it’s not always healthy.  I’ve had professors go nuts on classes due to the phones being used in class and I don’t blame them for their frustration at all. (And then you have me, the mother who could get a call from the school about a sick kid, who silences the phone and puts it in my bag during class.)  The girl who sits next to me in my class this morning was alternating between her Blackberry and her laptop during class–and she only opened the document for her notes occasionally.  She was on Facebook and Twitter a lot and I wanted to say, “Honey, I’ve seen your grades.  You might want to pay attention.”

I have too much going on right now, and while the phone is great and I’d be lost without it completely, it’s time to ease up on it.  It’s ok to tell someone, “I’ll check it tomorrow” so more time sensitive tasks can be accomplished now.

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