I was speaking with a local organization yesterday about habits and the shiny objectsthat really get in the way of their energy, productivity, and presence. Can you guess what the #1 thing was? You and your loved ones might be experiencing it (including the little ones). I’ll give you some hints. It starts with “i”, is meant to connect you but in reality primarily disconnects you… from your “I” and everyone else.
You guessed it…. iPhone (used here to represent cell phones in general).
Take a peak at your phone habit. How many times a day do you check it or pick it up to see what's new or what you might be missing out on? If you’re the average person (which I know you’re not), it can be 80 times a day = every 12 minutes. Really? Wow!
Maybe you’re not in the 80 per day category but do a little experiment and start keeping track so you know your truth. Even if it isn’t that high, I’m sure you’ve felt the panic and pang of “where is it!?” when you misplaced it. What's going on there?
And what does all that digital checking in do? Messes up your brain, creates unwanted addictions, gets you lost when maybe you really just wanted to be on track, adds to eye and neck strain, damages hearing, and separates you from life as it’s actually happening around you. Yes, I’m sure you’re already aware of this… but where’s your positioning power regarding these harmful effects? Who is mastering who? (or is it "whom is mastering whom?"... I was never good at that.)
One of the huge impacts digital technology has is on sleep. The blue light in electronic devices (phone, iPads, Kindle, TV, laptop) interferes with the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that’s needed for the onset and regulation of sleep. When melatonin levels are off, you have a harder time getting to sleep and really don’t sleep as well. As I’ll share in a future Wonder & Wisdom, sleep is VITAL to a healthy life. (Ugly fact: one method of torture is to not allow people to sleep.)
So let’s combine three things: creating a mini habit for health, reducing our addiction to all things electronic (especially phone), and getting better sleep.
This can come in the form of a digital sunset, i.e. a set bedtime for the electronics, say 7:00pm for starters. Just like you tuck your kids in bed, kiss them goodnight, and let them go to sleep so you can have delicious “me” time, the same thing can happen with your electronics (although pretty weird to be kissing it to sleep).
For the phone, shut it off and put it in a drawer… or in the safe on a shelf in the corner closet behind all the winter coats, offering you plenty of time to reflect “What’s SO important for me to be digging through this stuff to get to that?!?”. For the non-phone items, you get the idea. Put them away, shut them off, and turn to something that’s fun, calming, positive, uplifting, relaxing, and a transition from the regular go-go-go brain waves that creates never-ending, low-grade agitation.
You need a break. They need a break. Have only organic energy drive your transition from the busy day to a peaceful pause and a good night's rest.