Attraction to Distraction

Photo by Ola Dapo on

My pastor has been challenging us to rethink the way we use our cell phones (and tablets, and televisions and…) I’ve been an avid member of the “watch what you watch” club for years, but his thoughts have made me go even deeper into my evaluation of screenage. The questions I’m about to ask you are the same questions I’m asking myself. I need to make some changes, not all of which will be particularly easy, but I think the payoff will be worth it.

How much have we given up eye-to-eye, or even voice-to voice relationships to our detriment?

  • Texts and emails may be efficient—or not. Too often, I’ve texted back and forth with a friend or colleague only to determine that, by the time I’ve typed and read a dozen missives, a phone call would have been faster and maybe even more effective.
  • Sometimes I stop what I’m doing to answer a text, but then decide to “take a minute” to check Facebook, confirm the weather forecast, look at a few favorite photos…I don’t ever finish everything I’d like to get done in a day! So, it’s time for me to be more careful about how I spend my minutes.
  • When I actually hear someone’s voice, let alone meet them in person, I reconnect on a much higher level than most tech can provide.

So, this week I’m beginning a new habit. Whenever possible, I’m stepping away from my desk to stretch my eyes and make a call instead of typing out a text or email.

How much have we bought into our “must know” culture? Is all that extra information bringing us joy? Making us more effective citizens of this world? As my pastor puts it, we’ve begun to concentrate on time wasters that include:

  • Problems we can’t fix. When we delve into the details of strangers’ pain on a regular basis, are we doing any good to anyone?
  • People we can’t be. Comparing ourselves to others is always a losing proposition.
  • Things we can’t have. If media didn’t create new “needs,” there would be no such thing as advertising.

Then there’s the fear factor. I used to ask friends who struggled with anxiety to stop spending so much time reading the newspaper. Now far more information is waiting in our pockets. A lot of it simply doesn’t need to be in our brains. We really don’t have to know it all.

Everything we do takes time away from something else, so I’m also going back to more of a need to know basis on my information stream, limiting my perusal of news, and making less frequent checks on incoming texts and emails (so if you need me, call me!)

‘Heard all this before? Me too, but this time I aim to act on the challenge to change. Join me!

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s