The other day, I ordered a new battery for my iPhone. A few days later, I received an email that I could drop my phone off on Saturday to have the new battery installed. I got to the Apple store 15 minutes ahead of its opening on a beautiful Saturday morning, and there was already quite a crowd gathered at the front doors.
Some people in the crowd were looking to buy their nifty new Apple product and there were also a bunch of people like me, looking to have their device worked on in some fashion. Including, I noticed, several people in the crowd also looking to have their phone batteries replaced. I was directed into the "battery replacement” line and after a few minutes, an employee efficiently took my info and my phone and let me know that it would be a few hours before my device would be ready for pickup with the new battery installed. I hadn’t realized it would take that long for the replacement to take place, but okay--this was the reason I was doing the repair on a Saturday anyway. As I turned to walk out of the store, a big smile uncontrollably stretched across my face.
That smile came from the unexpected feeling of a unique freedom that I have not felt for many years. Without that phone in my hand or back pocket, I was FREE! Free from receiving or responding to anyone’s email, call, text, Facebook update, or workout notification. Free from my constant weather and stock checking. Free from “having” to read the latest sports updates or blog posts, and especially free from having my every move tracked by those who are interested in tracking and selling something to me. In that moment, I felt a weight many times heavier than that little black rectangular device lifted off my shoulders, and it felt great.
As I continued out of the store and smiling, I decided that I might not come back until much later in the day to give myself an opportunity to settle in and enjoy this newfound freedom.
For the next several hours, I spent time practicing mindfulness while I was engaged in my other activities. I was able to think about how the technology I really love (specifically my phone and all the wonderful ways it augments my life) has also become a heavy weight that I have allowed myself to lug around on a daily basis. And even though that phone has the ability to help me workout, stay in touch with friends and even be my flashlight in the dark, it also has the ability to make me feel like I should be home when I’m at work, and I allow it to keep me working when I’m home.
From this experience, I made a decision: moving forward, I’ll be taking a half a day here and there away from all tech, attempting to experience this balance.
How about you? What might your technology break look like? Maybe you’re already practicing some sort of tech break. If so, let us know about it so we can share it with the rest of the Rewire tribe.
If we’re honest, many of us have allowed technology to take a more controlling role in our lives than we would like to admit. And while there are many reasons for this, we have the ability to take that control back with the use of technology breaks like the one forced on me during my battery replacement. These breaks may be as short as a few hours or as long as a week or more.
My friend Jack and his wife take every Wednesday off from all technology and he has reported that as a result, Wednesday has become his favorite day of the week. Wednesday is the day that Jack and his wife get to pay extra attention to one another, the day he gets his deep writing and thinking done, and the day he reconnects with what makes his life tick.
When we are disconnected from our technology, we allow ourselves to become more relaxed, helping us with our work-life balance. Our Lizard Brain, being separated from the habits and stressors that come through technology, has the ability to still itself a bit, and we can be more focused and present with whatever or whomever is right in front of us. We become more relaxed and yes, balanced.Thanks, Apple.