5 Ways to Turn Off Distractions and Turn On Quality
You’ve had enough. It feels like you can’t go two seconds without your cell phone blowing up with some sort of useless information. Yeah, it’s fun to be in the know, but how important is another pointless image of your friends puppy posted on Instagram to your quality of life? It’s not.
As you head into Spring, the season of rebirth and rejuvenation, take a rest from your smart phone. Have your friends and family join you (so you don’t feel totally out of the loop) and start a pattern in your life of taking a break every now and then. Here are five tips to help you break away from your cell phone – not forever – but long enough to gain much needed peace and quiet.
1. Start small.
If the thought of not having your cell phone for a while scares you, then start this journey by turning it off for one hour. You’ll find that when you turn it back on, you didn’t miss too much. Once you’re comfortable with an hour, try two hours and work your way up to an entire day. Once a year, once a quarter, once a month or even once a week, decide to spend an entire day without your cell phone. If you tell friends and family that you’re unavailable, they’ll either call back, text or leave a message. We live in a technology and information driven society, so withdrawal is expected. Don’t get upset if you cheat a couple times and peak. But, trust that you can make it an entire day and you’ll be blessed by opportunities God provides in that day.
2. Make dinner time a cell phone-free zone.
While food is especially important to any growing teenager, sitting down to eat together is a sacred time for every family. Children and adults alike face significant stress and pressures every day in the world outside the home. Closing the doors on that world and coming together for an hour each evening to relax and refresh in the comparative safety of those who most love us is essential to our well-being.
3. Plan a date that doesn’t require cell phones.
Hit up the mall, followed by a movie and dinner with your best friends or boyfriend, and plan to leave your phones at home. You don’t need to post selfies in front of the theater or #wishlist when cruising through the mall. Instead, soak in the film, the food and the friendship. It would be sad to go through all the trouble of spending time together while half of the time you’re preoccupied with your phone.
4. Consider a “No Cell Phone Day.”
Inspired by the children’s book (by the same name) written by famous jazz musician Delfeayo Marsalis about a tech-entrenched father who spends a happy birthday exploring New Orleans with his daughter – without his cell phone. A monthly “no cell phone day” allows you to fully engage with the people around you, whether they’re your parents, your siblings or your friends. Without the distractions of school, mindless updates and spam, you can have meaningful conversations and simply spend time laughing with the people you love. You’ll have those memories to cherish for a long time to come. If you really want to connect with yourself and loved ones, plan on a regular No Cell Phone Day.
5. Play “What Do I Know without My Cell Phone?”
Research suggests cell phones are compromising the short-term memory of children. More and more of us – children and adults alike – rely on our smart phones, rather than our memories, to retrieve information. Exercising our brains with trivia, math and other cognitive games can help all of us stay mentally sharp.
Most importantly – don’t be afraid to be bored!
Life doesn’t have to be a sci-fi movie all of the time. Spend some time reflecting on your greatest memories to date; chances are, 0% of those memories will involve cell phones.
About Delfeayo Marsalis: While Delfeayo Marsalis (dmarsalis.com) is known primarily for his work as a jazz trombonist and music producer, and has been involved with youth education for many years. In 2000, he founded the Uptown Music Theatre to provide arts education for the youth of New Orleans. UMT has staged 16 of his original musicals. Inspired by his autistic younger brother, Mboya, Delfeayo has volunteered and presented shows at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, including the therapeutic, “Swinging with the Cool School.” “No Cell Phone Day” is his first children’s book.