Da-ding, Da-ding! Is that your phone notification of something incoming? Hadn’t you better check it?
Over the past few years, as more people utilize smart phones for instant access to information and communication, I keep running into the same concerns. Time and time again, a new smart phone owner will tell me “It has changed my life!” Then, I observe them exit our physical reality to enter the “other places” that await us on mobile devices: news sites, social media, photos, memes, content creation tools, curation applications and innovation entertainment activities- just to name a few.
We all see it everywhere we look….people staring into screens. Yet, what do we reach for the moment we awaken each day? Our phones. How do we feel when we forget our phone at home? I have heard people say they feel everything from vulnerability to actual fear.
Just where IS everyone heading? I took this picture on the bus because everyone near me was on a mobile device. Nobody was “on the bus” with me!
Eric Pickersgill, an artist who photographs digital culture, shares some haunting images at Removed. We all see people “removed from our world” every day. I have heard jokes about the zombies around us- people who are not really with us.
My daughter, a tech savvy creative and intelligent young woman, recently suggested I write a blog post with tips on balancing physical and virtual life! She had not heard of FOMO and realized she had personally felt that sensation (FOMO= fear of missing out) that her phone was beckoning her to a world beyond….a world where important things were happening. The world beyond our physical surroundings, on our digital devices, takes us to a place where boredom no longer exists and where we can be both active and passive with no rules or constrictions. Yet, deep in our souls, we feel a slight discomfort (if not horror) knowing that we can never master keeping up with the incoming and never really exit the small reality of our tiny individual life.
Which leads me to BALANCE TIP #1 Intentional Disconnection Time
Find a time to leave your device and do not touch it! Schedule yourself a PHYSICAL WORLD ONLY time, if only an hour a day. During that time, focus on physical reality: deep breaths, trees, textures, hot tea, smiles, and your five senses.
You could add prayer, yoga, meditation, or a walk outdoors, or even housework! But, the idea here is to be consciously disconnected. While connecting with others across distance is an amazing new opportunity, it can overtake and overwhelm us unless we can find a balance between the physical and the virtual world.
Contemplate your disconnection time. This may seem too obvious or too easy. But it really isn’t when you think about it. Our phones are always with us and it takes intentional effort to disconnect for a period of time.
More tips to come!