Lesson: I recently jumped into the world of social media with both feet.I must say I am pretty amazed at how it connects you to so many people! I am equally amazed with how time consuming it can be.
Last week I heard a statement on TV that really caught my attention. It was, “We may need more (one-on-one) face time with the people in our lives instead of Facebook.” Now I realize that Facebook is only one social media tool, but the point applied to all of them. How often do we miss out on having face-to-face conversations and moments with people sitting right in front of us because we are consumed with social media and/or our technological devices? Probably more often then we care to admit. Ponder these questions for a moment:
- How much time are we wasting on social media?
- How many dreams are going unfulfilled because we’re on social media watching others live out their dreams?
- How many to-do lists are going undone because we can’t put our phones down?
- How many memorable moments are we missing with the people we love because we are consumed with looking down at our phones?
- How many conversations do we mindlessly participate in because we are distracted with our device (s)?
These questions really made me start reflecting. It forced me to pay closer attention to my personal usage this past week. In an effort to monitor how often I was using my device, I decided to download an app to my phone called Moment. The app monitors the amount of time you are actively using your phone each day. It gave me a good snapshot of usage, which was much more then I had in the past before I started actively using social media. As a result, I decided to use a feature of the app called “Daily Limit.” This way I can give myself a set amount of time to be on my phone each day and when I get close to the limit my phone alerts me. If I go over my limit it also alerts me. This is just one tool that can help with being more in the moment.
Here are 5 other things to do to help with being in the moment:
1-Capture special moments with a few pictures: Have you ever found yourself trying to capture the perfect picture with the perfect lighting and the perfect filter so you can post it online and then you look up and the moment is over? I’ve watched that happen so many times. Take a few pictures and then put your camera down and “be” present. Don’t miss the moment trying to capture the moment!
2-Give yourself parameters or boundaries: This will look different for everyone. Maybe you don’t need to roll over and check social media first thing in the morning. Perhaps you can give yourself specific time frames during the day when you’ll check it so that it doesn’t consume so much of your time. For example, I’ve given myself the goal of only using social media after my children go to bed at night, when they are taking a nap or right before they get up in the morning, but only if I’ve done everything else on my morning to-do list first. I try to keep my phone on the charger when I’m at home to help with this. If it’s not in my eyeshot, then I’m not tempted to pick it up. I also have all my social media settings on silent so I’m not constantly hearing alerts all day long.
3-Talk to the people around you: I really try not to have my phone in my hand or out when I’m having a conversation with someone. When you are having a conversation with someone, put your phone down, look the person in his or her eyes and “be” in the moment. When you are having a meal with someone, put your phone down. Enjoy your meal and the people you’re sharing it with. “Be” in the moment. No one wants to have a meal with someone and look at the top of his or her head the entire time.
4-Be observant in public: This is a big one! In today’s society you need to be pay attention to what’s going on around you. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of people being distracted by their phone and something terrible happening. Put your phone away and take your headphones off when you are out and about. It’s not to just watch out for bad things to happen but also just to “be” in the moment. I learn so much just by observing people and my surroundings.
5-Appreciate the moment you are in: My children have been my greatest teacher with this one. Little ones are only little one for a short time. Babies become toddlers, toddlers become adolescents, adolescents become teenagers and teenagers become adults and it happens quicker than we think. My children are teaching me to “be” in each stage. Paying attention to their mannerisms and quirks, watching their interactions, habits and faces develop and change over time. The same is true for the other people in my life. I wish I could go back and remember certain moments and events more vividly with my dad while he was still living. When I think of that, it makes me more intentional about appreciating the present and making memorable moments with the people I have in my life now.
All in all, I’ve discovered that our devices can be very consuming! Whether it wastes valuable time that we could be working on something productive or valuable time that we could be spending enjoying the one(s) we love. Either way, we all could probably learn to take a pause from our devices from time to time and “be” more in each moment that we are gifted with.
Application: Pick two steps that you can implement today that will help you “be” more present in the moment with the people you love.