Oh man. It's hard to focus enough to start this one.
Each month this year, I've posted a new article with steps I am taking to take better care of myself. After seeing a litany of New Year's Resolution posts at the start of the year, and also knowing that 80% of people fail their New Year's Resolutions by February, I wanted to create actionable steps to get myself into a better head space so that each month I can incorporate a new step into my routine and have a better chance at accomplishing my goals.
Some of these goals were already in my head. By and large, though, each new step I am taking is prompted by new self-awareness of situations, scenarios, and habits I get into that aren't the healthiest.
Remember what I said at the top of the article about focus? That's what spurred this step for me. My focus has gone to hell.
I used to be constantly engaged and aware. I used to hear everything a person said to me without having to ask them to repeat themselves because I was distracted. I used to be able to watch through a movie or TV show at home without feeling compelled to rewind it or ask the person I'm watching with to tell me what I missed...while I was sitting there.
The problem is my phone. I am absolutely addicted to my phone.
Not all the time. I still set my phone aside when I'm at work or writing or editing so I don't get distracted from my job responsibilities. At least I have an awareness of that. And I'm also pretty good about sitting down to dinner with friends or loved ones and not staring at my phone. But, you know what? I probably wouldn't even be good at that if someone didn't once tell me it was really frustrating that we were out to dinner and I was texting people rather than having a conversation with the people I was with.
Sometimes it takes someone pointing something out to us for us to realize it's a problem.
Sometimes even when someone points something out to us, we think they're the problem.
And sometimes, unfortunately but also luckily, we will realize the problem for ourselves when we start to see the impact it's having.
For me, it's that I can't focus in my free time. I can't just sit and watch a TV show without looking at my phone--usually looking up actors or directors for the show I'm watching and then falling down an internet rabbit hole for hours. I can't watch the news on TV without looking at my phone--usually at news stories. What the hell is that about?
It makes me feel a little brain-dead, to be honest. I'm not absorbing things the way I used to. I can't multitask the way I used to. I don't have the Gen Z brain where I can take in what's going on around me while also paying attention to my phone.
So my plan for April and moving forward is to make a conscious effort to put my phone down. If I'm watching the news, I don't need to concurrently read the news. If I'm watching a movie, I can look up the actors and directors and music composers later. If I'm reading a book, I don't need to use my phone to look up the author and see what else they've written. I can wait until I've finished the book and know whether I even like it before seeing what else they've written that I can read.
I just need to focus more.
Phones are a wonderful tool. They really are. I tout their capabilities all the time. It's amazing to have a computer with the world's knowledge in the palm of my hand.
That knowledge will still be there when I need it. My friendships and relationships and attention span aren't worth sacrificing in the meantime.