Tuesday, October 21, 2014

That Damn Phone

Over the past couple of weeks I've had to go to several meetings. One was with TNNA's board of directors and the other was with a company that's super high tech.

At the TNNA meeting, people stayed plugged in. We all kept our phones nearby and checked them periodically. (There was even one person who apparently hasn't learned how to silence the ringer.) There were times when things had to be repeated because someone was distracted by their phone. Or even out of the room because they were taking a call.

At the other meeting, there wasn't a phone in sight. Keep in mind that it was a half day meeting that stretched into an off site lunch. Nobody had a phone at lunch and nobody checked in during the walk to and from the restaurant. Instead, we talked to one another.

I thought it was pretty interesting that the high tech crowd stayed unplugged. It seemed almost counterintuitive.  I can say without a doubt that we got way more done. I also felt like it created a more respectful environment. I think that's key. We all respected each other's time and opinions. We weren't listening with only half an ear because we were checking email. (Or Facebook.) Everyone gave their full attention.

I need to keep this experience in mind. I'm as bad as the next person about sneaking a peek at the phone to see if there's anything I need to attend to. But the thing is, there isn't much in my life that can't wait until the next break.

Let's be honest, those true emergencies are so very few and far between that we probably shouldn't default to the common denominator of checking our phones every few minutes. It signals to those around you that you think that the extraordinarily remote possibility of a crisis is more important than what they have to say. That's not fair.

I could go on about the same sorts of transgressions in all of our personal lives. How many of us are guilty of bringing our phones along and setting them on the table at a restaurant during dinner with friends? (I am sheepishly raising my hand.)

I know I got more done when I wasn't as plugged in. And I was a better companion. Wow, I just thought about what I just wrote. More productive and a better friend. Work and personal life can both get better just that quickly.

So I'm going to try and disconnect more. Not panic if I leave my phone on the dresser in the morning. I have both a computer and a phone on my desk. People can reach me. I am not so important that stuff can't wait an hour or eight.

With any luck, when I start showing others they deserve, they will show me the same in return.

1 comment:

quiltyknitwit said...

I love this post. Live life - be in the moment! It's so much better for our nervous systems & our relationships.