A friend and I were reminiscing yesterday about all the time we had in college. Even on days that I worked and had three classes, I would find time to shower, put on makeup, eat, write papers, read and hang out with friends. What’s more is that looking back, it seems like I had endless time.
Fast forward to now. Does this sound like your experience now? Wake up, scramble to get food into the kids, work, run a few errands, make a healthy dinner and watch something on Netflix. You’re lucky if you get time to shower or grab lunch with friends, much less eat lunch at all. And the time?
It is no longer endless.
How can this be? What causes us to lose all this time now, to constantly be scrambling to keep up?
We decided that it’s social media.
Maybe this dates me, but there was no social media in college. I was lucky if I could get a fast enough connection to send an email.
I wrote letters to my long-distance boyfriend. Real, actual letters. They took longer to write than an email, and I had to buy stamps and walk to a mailbox. For my senior project, I spent hours in the video editing lab, piecing together a film that was part art, part philosophy. Research projects entailed hours in the library. And for road trips? We had to use an actual paper map.
With all of the labor and energy that went into those projects, you would think that we used to feel rushed and hurried, but the opposite is true. Technology is damaging our connection with others, ourselves and the world. And it’s stealing our sense of time.
Before Facebook, when you had downtime you might call a friend, read a book or sit in silence. All of those are experiences. Now, in your downtime, you probably scroll endlessly, only half-absorbing everything you read and not really caring about any of it. At the end of the day, you haven’t had all that much experience. And so time seems to run together.
Studies show that face-to-face interactions with other humans instill in us a vital sense of well-being. People recover better from stress when they look at nature, not a high-definition representation on a giant, flat-screen TV. Experiences, not screen time, are important for ultimately fulfilling our souls.
So next time you pull out your smart phone, consider turning it off for a while.
Here are 3 ways to unplug yourself in order to reboot your soul:
1. Prune your online connections.
Does it really matter if you have 800 friends online if you don’t have anyone who you can call for a cocktail on a Friday night?
2. Turn off notifications.
Your life won’t be any different if you don’t get every message indicator in real time.
3. Leave your phone in your car when you’re outside.
Your rashguard may not have pockets, so stay off the phone when you’re at the beach. Use the time to experience nature, connect with friends & family or close your eyes and enjoy the moment.
Try these simple tips and transform your soul. You’ll make memories that you’ll look back on and remember all the time that you had.