Day by day, hour by hour, second by second, it’s getting intense and worse. Humans are becoming slaves to mobile gadgets and they have started living in a world of their own. Unfortunately, we are now more comfortable talking to our phones than saying a hello to the person standing right next to us. We don’t mind spending hours checking and re-checking status updates and some junk forwards rather than spending few minutes with our loved ones at home. I bet 90% of us doesn’t even know who our neighbor is and their names or what they do. I somehow feel that we are becoming more and more artificial and plastic day by day. And unfortunately, this pattern is showing strong signs of a bleak future.
Everyone needs an experience to realize the value of family time. Like what happened to me last week, when my daughter was participating in her sports day event, she noticed that I was present physically there but I was diving inside my phone on and off. She came to me after finishing first in the running race and asked me why I was spending looking at my phone in spite of her waving hand at me. It was embarrassing as well as disturbing. It hit me so hard that I realized I was only present physically, but mentally I was somewhere else. How much time was I spending on the phone! That’s when I made these 5 golden rules for myself:
- Make sure you put the phone on silent once you reach home. You can check once in a while if there are any important calls. Do the same with WhatsApp notifications. Disable them so that you don’t get distracted every minute with a ting. More over, you are not in a call center to respond to a message within 2 minutes. So chill…
- Make a habit of NOT attending calls after a certain time (say like 7PM or 9PM) depending on the type of job or business. Once you follow this discipline, people would either call you before that, or the next day. They will respect your time; and that’s what you are looking for. Finish all the important calls before 7PM so that you know any calls after that are either less important or just cold calls.
- A lot of the Indian working culture is to day ‘Yes’ for any last minute requests. We all work on deadlines and hence when we get a request on the eleventh hour, we tend to say yes. That’s when you fall in the trap. Whatever planning you did for that evening with your family goes for a toss. Ask your family how many times does this happen to you; you will realize that this happens almost all the time.
- Keep taking feedback from your kids. They give you honest feedback. They will tell you how much they miss you, in spite of you being right next to them. Ask yourself frankly; do you really like to be this?
- I switch off my phone every night. I am not in a business where my UK or US clients call me at midnight. Things can definitely wait till the next day. Anyway, sky is not going to fall overnight.