I don’t know about you, but I have a fairly tough time “shutting off my brain” at any point of the day or evening. And technology does NOT help this. You’re probably no different. So, I have recently been making some changes with my daily rhythms and use of technology that has helped me actually pay attention to the people sitting directly in front of me. I thought I would throw them out in hopes they might be a benefit to you as well. Here they are:
- Drive home. When I drive home from “work” I have decided to do a few things. First, I don’t have the radio on. This allows me to breathe a bit and process through my day. Secondly, I turn my phone off. This allows me to unwind a bit before I get home. Lastly, I get to my neighborhood about 5-10 minutes before I’m supposed to be home, park under a tree and sit there. I pray. I process. I unwind. This allows me to really be at home when I get there.
- Cell phone. I recently changed my voicemail to say that I check messages every Friday. This gives me time and space to respond to people as time allows rather than stressfully trying to get back to everyone. I spend Friday mornings getting back to messages.
- Kids. I have made a decision to not check my cell phone until my kids go to bed. There are a few exceptions to this rule, like if we are waiting for someone to get back to us as a family or if we are having someone over for dinner than they are running late (or things like that). When I walk in the door my ringer is off. I then set my phone down on our kitchen island, face down, and pick it up later. I’m not perfect at this, but it something I’m trying to do…and when I do, I tend to mentally be with my kids when I’m physically with them.
- Meetings. I’ve now made it a rule that when I’m meeting with someone my cell phone goes off. No buzz. Ringer is off and I don’t answer it. If there is an urgent call I’m waiting for I let the person I’m meeting with know that that call may come in before it does. I also have a little deal with my wife. She can call me at any time. If I don’t pick up, I’m in a meeting. But if she REALLY needs to talk to me she immediately calls back. At that point I will tell the person I’m meeting with about my deal with my wife and they tend to understand.
The bottom line to all this is I’m trying to actually pay attention to the people who are directly in front of me. I know, amazing concept.