Why My Wrist Watch Keeps Me Present
Sometimes I check my phone for the time. Sometimes I check my phone for messages. Sometimes I think I’m checking my phone for the time but really? I’m checking for messages. Sometimes I check my phone for no reason at all!
Maybe sometimes it’s time to take a step back and change something that actually aggravates me in other people. As the wise ‘they’ say, what you react to in other people can often be a part of you you're not quite ready to look at. So with this in mind I decided to witness my relationship with my phone rather than judge other people and their phone habits.
This week when the wifi went down on my road (perfectly timed/ super annoying), I took this as an opportunity to dig out my wrist watch, step away from the phone and try and be a little more aware of when I stepped towards that rectangular nugget of knowledge that fits so nicely into my hand…
Discovery? I habitually reached for my phone many times and easily forgot I was wearing a watch. When I did check my watch for the time (which actually felt quite novel and even quaint), I felt a calmness knowing that a notification of some sort wasn’t going to surprise me with new information, possibly unrelated to where I was and what I was doing in that moment (especially if all I truly wanted was indeed the time of day).
Looking at the time on my watch felt grounding in comparison to on my phone, which sometimes took me out of the present moment and distracted me from who I was with. I noted that even if said company has nipped to the loo, this is not automatically a signal to check your phone; sometimes it can be nice to digest the conversation (especially if it’s an intense one), take in your surroundings…or plan your escape route.
I also observed that I often reached for my phone out of habit whilst procrastinating, whilst trying to make a decision or whenever I had to do some waiting. Sometimes the answer is on the phone… and sometimes practising my french is a very good use of time as I wait for someone, but I decided I would like this to be a conscious choice, not an automatic response without awareness.
Lack of wifi also got me reaching for the radio whilst doing house chores, instead of my phone for an online talk. Again this seemed to have a grounding effect on me. The news and the stories I heard were current, some were live; the world as it was on that day. Some of it was more interesting than other bits, I didn’t click, close and move on, I listened. It reminded me that though my usual online talks/ interviews/ shows are very inspiring and super informative, they were often not rooted in today but from the realm of catch up, on demand and replay. I love the internet for it’s ability to give me what I want when I want, but it was nice to be reminded that this web of seemingly infinite possibilities can sometimes be overwhelming and it can be helpful to take a step back every now and then.
The wifi came back after about a week, which I am appreciating most definitely, but I think I will hold onto my watch and continue cultivating more awareness when it comes to my phone. It’s a powerful tool for sure, but I would like to use it more consciously and less absentmindedly. And next time I find myself judging someone else for their phone habits or anything else for that matter I will see if anything is being revealed within me first.
We can spend so much time clicking swiftly, closing quickly and moving on without a second thought, but when it comes to listening to and being there for those around us we want our attention to be focused, sustained and patient. Next time you have a cuppa with a friend, why not wear a watch and notice when and why you pick up your phone; I dare you!