My sister and I are walking along and suddenly I hear “put your fucking phone away.” She’s saying to me what I’ve said to her dozens of times over. I can’t even remember what I was checking. Embarrassingly, it was probably Facebook. At least we weren’t at the dinner table.
Last’s week’s practice was about cultivating connection with your Self prior to plugging in and engaging with technology first thing in the morning. While not every practice I publish here builds on one another, this is what we do in my one-on-one programs. Having one practice build on the next helps us to zero in on and increase our capacities in scalable ways, really building the muscles that serve our intentions with our growth.
If you worked with the practice of breaking technological addiction, you may be feeling more spacious in the mornings, more awake and connected with your Self. Or, if you’re like me, a bit shocked and humiliated by how difficult it can be.
This practice is about where your attention and energy flows during the day. We’ve got weapons of mass distraction attached to our hips and in our handbags.
I was given this practice when I was completing my certification with Integral Coaching Canada. I have, in turn, given it to a few clients. They’ve all been A-Type entrepreneurs with full schedules and important work to do.
It’s hard. And it’s effective.
This is particularly juicy for those who run an online business or who engage with social media as part of their work. Definitely do this practice if you’re trying to create something. Like art. Or you’re writing a book, working on a project for a client, building a website, studying for exams or really anything that you’re trying to produce that demands some focus and reverence.
The Practice: Check your phone/Social Media/E-mail a maximum of four times per day.
I promise you it’s not impossible. But when you do check, it better not be at a bus stop or in the middle of a chat with your mother because you’re going to want to respond to those emails, post what you want to post, take care of business and tweet to your heart’s content.
This practice helps you to focus and be productive with your online time. Rather than ‘checking’ being a habitual compulsion, something to expel anxiety, fill emptiness or curb your boredom, it becomes intentional.
But more important than what happens during those four times you check, is what’s happening all that time that you don’t check.
While you’re doing this practice, you’ll likely notice the impulse to move towards checking over and over and over. You may even feel agitation, anxiety or restlessness in response to not following that impulse. Notice this. Notice also how there’s space that gets cleared away. This space, you can use to make your art, connect with others, take in the view and be here now.
The most common argument I’ve heard against this practice is that you won’t be able to get done what you need to get done. If you give yourself 20 minutes to an hour to stay engaged each time you check (duration dependent on how much time your work actually requires you to be engaged with your social media and email,) you’ll be fine. This practice is not designed to thwart your productivity; it’s designed to improve it.