It is going to be hard to do. For me, it was an accident. I left my phone beside the chair, where it had fallen when I went out to grab lunch a bit ago. I first noticed about a block from the house when my car refused to connect to Spotify and play back any of my righteous playlists. “Shit,” I thought. “I left my phone at the house.”
That was the beginning of the drama. Or should I say, the relief from drama. See, without my phone, not one single person could reach me. Not my mom telling me I was talking too loud when carrying on a conversation with a new client who doesn’t speak English as their native language. Nor was my sister going to be able to remind me she needs me to clear out of her driveway so her date can get his car out of her driveway. See, I’m parked there now. I wonder, does he drive a Hummer or a limo? And not one of my new clients, new worker bees, nor interested dating partners… No one could reach me without my phone. Only smoke signals would’ve caught my eye, except the windows in my car are tinted, so…
It is just me.
I took a pen and a journal, expecting to take the lunch self-date to catch up on all the issues that are juggling around in my brain. And then there was the traffic jam getting to where I wanted to eat for lunch, outside, on this amazingly beautiful day. And the radio was playing crappy music. And my phone, again… My phone was resting quietly beside the chair in my sister’s house where I’d been working for the morning.
There are no distractions between you and the day if you don’t have your phone. You aren’t trying to take a picture of the sweet clouds. There is no “message” that needs to be texted, emailed, snapped, or “grammed.” Nothing. For me, it was enjoying my lunch, not reading the Austin Chronicle, and breathing. Just breathing and eating. No updates. Nothing to catch up on. No Trump. No voting day results. No specials. No offers.
And when I finished eating I remembered used paperback I really wanted to buy for a friend, Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child. So I walked to the old HPB. But it wasn’t there. It was now a fancy yoga studio with dark tinted windows and very pretty cushions just inside. I walked back to my car. Noticing the day. Noticing the friends I hadn’t called or seen in quite a while. Noticing the coolness of the bright March day. And noticing everything, because I was noticing nothing about my phone, my photos, my texts, my gadget.
It’s time to be gone more often. It’s a great management strategy. In The Art of Project Management, Scott Berkun (Now retitled Making Things Happen) writes that just being unavailable from time to time can solve a lot of problems. It causes people to figure out the solution without your input. And it gives you, the unavailable manager, time to relax, have a cup of coffee, and … well, and not check up on your phone.
Drop it. Leave your phone behind. See how much more you can get out of walking through your life.
image: dropped phone, creative commons usage