Learning to Disconnect

Hello beautiful, you’re looking like a laser beam today: stunning.

So, if you’re like me, you’re always checking your phone for a text or your Facebook for a notification or your Twitter for a mention or your Quora for an answer or your Venmo for a charge or your LinkedIn for an update.  You’re always… connected.

And hey, I don’t blame you.  I do this all the time.  I probably lose sleep over how much I have to see the next thing.

But as I’m getting closer to the end of my senior year, I’m realizing that though I feel connected to everything, what I’m missing out on is the connection to what’s in front of me.

I’m going to miss Iowa State, my friends, my apartment, my clubs, and even my classes here!  I need to disconnect, and enjoy what I have here, because I don’t have much time left.

So, again, if you’re like me, this is easier said than done.  Here’s some tips that’ll help you learn to disconnect, and enjoy the things around you instead.

  1. Keep your phone on silent, so you don’t get the notification every few minutes.  And when I say silent, I mean turning off vibrate too.  Since doing this, I’ve texted significantly less, and genuinely enjoyed the uninterrupted fun and conversation with people more.
  2. Get rid of push notifications.  Don’t get them for your email or for someone wanting you to play Candy Crush with them.  Those little numbers just taunt you to open things all the time.  Let it be!  If someone really needs to get in contact with you, they will.  You don’t need to keep checking to make sure they have access to you in any outlet.
    Think about how much easier life would have been for Drew Barrymore in He’s Just Not That Into You:

    “I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, and so I called him at home, and he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

    Yeah, I just quoted that movie to make a point.  But still.  If she had disconnected, she would have gotten her rejection call eventually without having to check anything.

  3. Charge your phone across the room.  If your phone isn’t RIGHT next to you, you’ve free to go about your business without the temptation of checking it all the time.  Plus, if you use it as an alarm in the morning, that’ll force you to actually get out of bed to turn off the alarm.  Bonus.
  4. Delete apps.  I deleted all of the games from my phone before Spring Break.  It’s actually shocking to me how long my battery lasts now because I’m not fiddling with a game while I’m hanging out with people or bored in class.  And yeah.  I pay more attention in class.  Double bonus.
  5. Log out of social media accounts when you’re about to close a tab.  When you open the page again, you’re forced to log in again, which might be the tiny kick in the pants that you need to stay off Facebook for a little longer.
  6. Download a site blocker.  This isn’t the most ideal solution, but when I really feel like I’m spending too much time on the internet not doing anything in particular, something like the Chrome extension StayFocusd and the Windows app ColdTurkey and the Mac app SelfControl will limit your time on specific time-wasting websites.
  7. Put your phone away when you sit at a meal.  Too many times I’ve walked into a restaurant where everyone at the table is sitting on their phones and not talking to each other.  Don’t be that person.  A fun game to try is putting everyone’s phone in the middle of the table in a stack.  If anyone takes their phone out of the stack, they have to pay for the meal.  It keeps everyone engaged with each other in REAL LIFE.  What.  So fun.

Hey.  Maybe you don’t need to do any of these things.  Maybe you’re awesome at not letting tech and social media hit you left and right.  If you are, I applaud you, and ignore me.

But hey.  If you do need to disconnect a bit (like me), let’s do this together.

Let’s smell the roses, talk to the people, and enjoy the time we have left at Iowa State. 🙂

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