Keep an eye on the time, not your phone

After years of resisting, I have finally given and bought a watch. One would ask why is the purchasing of a watch significant?

Because, I have after years of being annoyed at the overuse of mobiles in meetings and subsequently also falling into that trap, I have had enough. It is affecting our ability to communicate and engage effectively and remain focused.

Simon Sinek spoke of the overuse of technology in his recent interview “The Problem with Millenials” and despite agreeing with him wholeheartedly, I realised, I too had fallen into this trap. Sitting in meetings and checking my phone – messages, emails whatever with the excuse that it was important. It’s not, really.

Further to this, in April last year, I made some significant changes to the way I work to give me a better work life blend for myself and my family. What I noticed was the whilst I was more present, I wasn’t really present at all, still distracted by my phone.

And I am not the only one. How can we really be engaged and connected to what is going on around us not just in the workplace but life in general if we are always looking down and not up and straight into the eyes of those around us?

It really hit home when I had to use my phone to check the time to keep on track during mentoring sessions. Whilst it was just to check the time and nothing else, I felt that I was being extremely rude and that perhaps I didn’t appear to be ‘fully on’. Whilst that was not the case, this had to stop.

It had to stop in meetings, it had to stop at home and it had to stop when I am trying to have some ‘me’ time. So quite simply,  to break the cycle and resist temptation to then unlock my phone to check social media, emails, texts or check the time, I bought a watch.

Who would have thought this analogue piece around my wrist (and no, I didn’t buy an apple watch – I have a fitbit to tell me how many steps I have walked when I remember to wear it that is), could be the answer to me being more focused, more present, more productive and even more connected.

A couple of other parameters I have put in place that I have wanted to do for a long time include:

·      No mobile phones out at meetings. If you are expecting an important call (e.g. family member), give it to a colleague and they can bring the phone into you during the meeting.

·      When I am with my kids and we are having some us time, the phone either doesn’t come with me (because I have my most important people with me) or it stays in the bag

It seems like an insignificant change. I am far from perfect as I have created a habit that I am trying to break, but one thing it has taught me in this connected world is that we are becoming so disconnected.

We are forgetting how to talk with intention, with focus and with care – to our colleagues and teams, to our loved ones and friends.

The first step is about me changing the habit, will you join me?