(#160) 7 Steps to Help You Unplug and Reflect

Personal reflection is an underlying principle of student success—
and it is often a neglected principle in everyday life.  We need to (must)
take time to give considered thought to the steady flow of information
we are exposed to in daily life.

The consequences of events intimately connect to the way we respond to the events.  Unfortunately, many times we find ourselves reacting rather than responding.  Something happens, and without thought (or at least much thought) we immediately react.

How true that can be with our smartphones. Pay attention in your next meeting or social gathering. Phones are always at the ready.  You will hear various beeps, whistles, and other assorted noises.  Often, the immediate reaction is to attend to the phone in our hand—not the person in front of our eyes.    There always seems to be something more pressing, more important than the human being with whom we are sharing space and conversation.

Image: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We exist in a fast-paced society and immediacy has become a valued commodity.  Have we, however, sacrificed reflection for reaction?  Personal reflection is an underlying principle of student success—and it is often a neglected principle in everyday life.  We need to (must) take time to give considered thought to the fire-hosed stream of information we are constantly exposed to in daily life; time to separate the gold from the trash.

If you want to give yourself a technology break (just a little one), consider these simple actions. As with most things, start small.  I am not advocating anything as extreme as throwing away all your technology.  But if you find yourself in a constant state of “i-tired”—constantly having to tap your smartphone—then these suggestions might be what you need to catch your breath and charge your battery.

1. The next time you have coffee or lunch with a friend, don’t put your phone on the table. Put it out of sight and hearing. Lose the smartphone–find the personal zone.

2. When at the gym, focus on your body (breathing, muscles, and movement).  Leave the phone at home, in the car or in the locker.

3. When it’s dinnertime with the family declare the table a phone-free zone.


Video recommendation for the week:

Is there such a thing as cell phone karma?


4. When you leave a meeting (or for students, when you leave a class), rather than immediately go to the phone, talk with someone who is leaving the room with you.  This doesn’t have to be a lengthy conversation—just a friendly connection with a human being about what you just experienced together.

5. First thing in the morning (when you awaken), avoid the temptation to tap into your news feed or email.  Why start the day on someone else’s terms?  If you must connect to something on your phone first thing out of bed, download an app for inspirational quotes.  Start with a great thought—not a problem or gossip.

6. Before you go to bed at night, declare a technology free time period.  Say 30 to 60 minutes before you place your head on the pillow.

7. There are times when you have your phone under control—but someone else is intruding with theirs.  When I am talking with someone who constantly looks at his/her phone while I am speaking, I stop mid-sentence. When the person looks at me, confused as to why I have stopped speaking, I say I didn’t want to interrupt their phone time.

Image: scottchan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: scottchan/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We may not be able to control all incoming calls/texts.  And there are times, we need to be vigilant to our communication.   We can, however, take more control of when and how we respond to the our phones.

Or we can lead a life of reaction where what we do is controlled by a gadget and our agenda set by other people.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

On July 15, I will offer my next webinar. The topic: Fostering Civility and Nurturing an Attitude of Gratitude.   Take advantage of this complementary offering.  Click here to register now for the webinar.  Or go to my website for registration information. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Make it a wonderful week!

 ©2013. Steve Piscitelli

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