In the last article, we talked about how completely we are losing the very few gaps we have in our days. Cell phones seem to have placed the final nail in our coffins when it comes to being creative, innovative and meditative.
Creators of the Windows Phone, instead of trying to ignore their impact, used it as a marquee for their advertising campaign. Remember this ad:
Now it’s time to fight back. Here are ten ideas (some of them are mine while I also gleaned and stole from smarter people) to give us more spaces, more gaps to reflect and breathe in our technology-saturated lives.
1. Have a technology Sabbath once a week: Have one day a week where you do not turn on a computer, television, phone or any other interactive gadget. I actually don’t think most of you can do it. Prove me wrong.
2. Turn off your phone when you are speaking with other people. If you cannot turn it off, turn it to a setting where it is totally silent and cannot interrupt you. One of our most important categories of “gaps” are those where our minds interact with the minds of other people.
3. Have set times in the day when you engage with technology. In other words, reverse the pattern. Right now, we schedule in things that do not directly involve technology (appointments, engagements, projects, to-do lists) and then allow tech stuff to interrupt. And it does. Why not schedule your tech times? Have three “email slots” per day, 3 “text message” times a day, 3 “Internet” times per day. Then, the rest of the day make those media unavailable.
4. While in the car, do not turn on the radio or answer the phone. Let the flow of traffic, with its repetition, carry you away to other thoughts.
5. Do nothing automatically involving Tech. Do not automatically go to Facebook when you sit down at your desk. Do not automatically bring your laptop to the breakfast table. Switch it up.
6. Only turn on your computer to use it for a task. Then turn it off. This prevents you from meandering to the 10 billion distractions the Internet offers.
7. For one week, record exactly how much you used each piece of technology. Carry a $1 notepad in your pocket to record these events. At the end of the week, be chagrined and hate that gap-taking, mind-sucking tech-barrage.
8. Get a dumb phone. No Internet and pay instead for every text message. Unless you are under 18…you don’t need an $800 bill from Verizon for text messages.
9. Have a partner who asks you regularly if you’re finding gaps in your day. Choose someone who has one or more of these characteristics:
a. Someone you don’t want to disappoint.
b. Someone who is annoying and relentless
c. Someone who also wants to regain gaps in their day.
Hey, it works for weight loss, it can work for gap acquisition.
10. Reward yourself at the end of every week for how much you were able to resist the tech incursion. If you honestly did well, give yourself a treat that does not involve more tech stuff: massages, waterslide, new clothes, golf course etc.
I would be thrilled to hear ideas you have. Let’s help one another.