“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.”
– Jim Rohn
Life today is completely different to when I was a kid in the 90’s. I rarely watched TV, my only games console was a Gameboy and I spent every daylight moment outside with my friends. I spoke to faces, not to screens, I knocked on doors and didn’t send a text to say “I’m outside.” I listened to my friends, even when I didn’t want to, because I had no phone to sit and rudely stare at. I know, can you image a world like that?
Wait, I know you can. Because unless you’re 16 or younger, you’ve probably lived like that at some point. So why do we now act as though we have no idea how to be polite, interactive human beings?
I know that a lot of our jobs require us to spend time on the internet and on social media websites – that is in fact my job! But I don’t think that means we have to ignore the people sitting in the room with us. I’m tired of walking into a room and seeing people’s facing awfully lit by their screens, I’m tired of being at dinner and someone answering their text messages whilst I’m speaking to them.
This is where I think the problem exists – people do not know how to switch off. So here’s what I’m here for. This weekend (or anytime that is not work time) try these things to keep your attention on the things that truly matter in life.
- Turn off notifications
It’s your down time, your precious time with your loved ones and friends, you don’t need to be replying to people straight away when you are spending time with actual people, or in fact just alone time. So switch off emails, messages and social media notifications for the weekend so you aren’t tempted to reply straight away. Don’t worry, nothing is stopping you from setting a time to reply to everyone when you have a moment to spare and it wouldn’t mean ignoring your friends, family or partner.
- Keep your phone away
Why not go the extra mile and just leave your phone behind! If you’re going out, or taking your partner out. Why not show them you can give them your full attention and just leave your phone alone for a while. You just don’t need it when you are spending quality time with the people you love.
If you find it difficult to get your family to pay attention during family time, then make a rule. Make everyone put their phone in a pile and turn them off for the evening. They don’t need them for one evening, they will survive. They can check them once you have finished spending some time together.
- If you feel the need to check something before your set time, then just pause.
Remember why you are doing this – because you are disconnected… from yourself, from life and from the people most important to you. They have probably asked you multiple times to pay attention and get off your phone, so this is when you should remember this.
So there we have it, some very simple tips to disconnect with the internet and reconnect with what is really important in life. Trust me, it will make a huge difference in your life and will show the people you care about the most that you really do care about them.